One of the hardest habits for new and native San Antonians to break is the tendency to water their lawn and beds too often. The fact is, native plants and adapted non-natives don’t require much supplemental water beyond natural rainfall. So then when should you water?
Plants certainly require water for physiological processes such as photosynthesis and metabolism, but the amount is much less than what people think. Native and adapted species seldom die if normal rainfall is less for a season or a year. Even during the worst year (2011) in recorded history for heat, wind and drought, 94 percent of the state’s trees survived.
During recent years, monthly rain amounts have often exceeded the historic averages by significant amounts, yet we find homeowners still watering — sometimes even while it’s raining.
Let me provide this simple advice. Use drought-tolerant plants recommended at GardenStyleSA.com and during the winter water only once a month. Choose a holiday each month to help you remember when to water.
The holiday method is simple to use, but it is weather dependent. Sometimes you water more and sometimes you water less, depending on monthly rainfall. If you can remember a holiday, you can remember to water.
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About our expert
Mark A. Peterson is a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System. With over 30 years of experience as an urban forester and arborist, Mark is probably the only person you know who actually prunes trees for fun. When not expounding on the benefits of trees and limited lawns, you’re likely to find him hiking San Antonio’s wilderness parks or expounding on the virtues of geography and history to his friends.
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