Designing a Drought-Resistant Lawn

Sprout coming out of cracked concrete

 

Widespread drought has cast a dark shadow on the gardening community. In these times of water conservation, many homeowners and institutions have come under fire for using sprinklers or garden hoses to water their lawns. Lawn maintenance and caring for one’s garden are in danger of becoming wasteful activities.

Fortunately, there are ways to still have a beautiful garden and keep it thriving without using up too much water. You can opt to make it a DIY project, or consult a professional gardener to draw up a plan for your drought-resistant lawn. Either way, the secret is in keeping everything practical and low-maintenance while creating visual panache.

Create texture with rocks and plants  

A smooth, well-manicured lawn is impractical during a drought because it is difficult to maintain with minimal water supplies. It is also hard to hide dry and barren patches on a flat lawn. Go for a mixed-garden bed instead. You can make up for possible visual gaps in your lawn with different textures and shapes. Sandstone boulders and paving stones can be interspersed with tall native grasses that do not require constant watering – plus they can prevent erosion while allowing rainwater to hydrate the soil.

Install a drip-irrigation system

Drip irrigation system

This is an effective way to keep your plants directly hydrated without wasting water the way a sprinkler system does. A drip-irrigation system can be adjusted to suit the season so you can take advantage of moisture from the cold months.

Choose drought-tolerant plants

There are low-maintenance plants that only need irrigation once every couple of months. Some drought-tolerant shrubs, trees, evergreens, and perennials include yarrow, Spanish lavender, African daisies, bottlebrush, rockroses, juniper, myrtle, oleander, bougainvillea, yellow bells, aloe, all manner of cacti, and most native plants. Many of these examples have minimal to moderate watering needs, come in a variety of colorful blooms attractive to hummingbirds and bees, and feature gorgeous textures and scents.

Use mulch to keep moisture locked in

rubber mulch

Black Rubber Mulch

Mulching is an effective solution to keep moisture locked in the soil where it needs it most. Rubber mulch is particularly reliable at keeping the soil and plant roots hydrated because it doesn’t retain moisture itself. Just two inches of mulch spread out evenly between plants can keep temperatures even and foliage healthy and thriving.

Select garden ornaments that provide shade while beautifying

Stone or wooden benches, birdbaths, gazebos, and sculpted garden ornaments not only add drama to your lawn, but also much-needed shade for grass and flowers. Keep textures and shapes varied to heighten visual appeal. It’s also good to consider how these ornaments can catch rainwater for plants, the way sloping stones, fountains, and ponds do.

 

Resources:

http://www.sunset.com/garden/landscaping-design/drought-resistant-plants/drought-resistant-plants-lawn-alternative

http://www.sunset.com/garden/flowers-plants/water-wise-plants/low-water-plants

http://www.bhg.com/gardening/landscaping-projects/landscape-basics/drought-tolerant-landscaping-ideas/

 

Termite Home Invasion Timeline

everlast termite

  • Termite Invasion Timeline

Swarming

  1.      Termites turn into larger, sexually mature “swarmers” with wing buds.
  2.      Swarmers leave the nest by flying through mud tubes.
  3.      These mud tubes connect underground colonies to food sources such as wood materials in houses.
  4.      Termites called supplementary reproductives “back-up” the primary queen by producing extra eggs & expanding the colony’s foraging territory.
  5.      If the colony queen dies or if a part of the colony is isolated from the queen, supplementary reproductives take on the role of the queen.
  6.      As a colony increases in size, foragers form satellite colonies: They create tunnel systems in the soil.
  7.      These tunnels connect colonies to food sources such wood materials in houses.

Budding

Not-So-Fun-Facts

  •         Termites swarm throughout the warm season, but not as much as during springtime.
  •         Colonies may swarm multiple times. Later swarms do not match the intensity of the first swarm.
  •         Subterranean termites swarm during the day, although Formosan termites (a species of subterranean termite) swarm at night.
  •         Swarm flights are brief, aided by prevailing winds.
  •         Winged termites do not fly too far but can be carried great distances by strong wind.

3 ways to get rid of termites…

  1.   Set up a cardboard trap.

Take a couple flat strips of cardboard, wet them, and stack them on one another in an area where termites are likely to be. Because termites feed on cellulose (cardboard), this makes for an excellent spot trap. When the cardboard is infested with termites, take it out in a safe area and burn it. Repeat multiple times, if necessary.

  1.   Try beneficial nematodes.

Beneficial nematodes are small unsegmented worm species that are natural parasites to garden pests, including termites. These nematodes search for hosts, such as termite larvae, and burrow into them, usually causing death within 48 hours.

  1.      Use rubber in lieu of wood mulch. Zero food source=zero termites.

http://thebugskiller.com/termite-infestation-detection-solution-and-prevention-tips/

http://www.nytimes.com/1996/05/26/realestate/your-home-coming-to-terms-with-termites.html

http://www.termites101.org/termite-basics/colonies

 

Rubber Mulch and Water Retention

landscape rubber mulch saves waterAsk any gardener or landscaper for mulch recommendations and you will certainly get an answer with some conviction and seldom will opinions match.  There are some universal truths to mulching though and general observation can tell us one universal truth.

Wood mulch that is applied year after year becomes rotten underneath and matted on top.  This leads to water shedding; water is directed away from the root zone and aeration of the root zone is greatly impacted.  Water simply can not penetrate a thick layer of matted wood mulch and therefore this is certainly a bad mulch practice.

Rubber mulch never mats or rots and is always permeable.  Therefore, all water runs straight through with no water shed.  Rubber also holds moisture in the ground.  If we have a semi load of rubber mulch that is soaking wet and leave it on a concrete pad in the hot Florida sun the material will never dry out.  The water will remain trapped in the rubber because rubber is an insulator.  The top is warm and the middle is cool so the water doesn’t escape.

Years ago we were presented with an opportunity in Dubai.  No matter what the customer tried they could not hold moisture in the ground until they top dressed with Everlast Rubber Mulch.  The rubber mulch allowed all of the irrigation to flow through to the plants and held the water in the ground.  The soil temperature was only 2 degrees warmer than the wood much beds due to the insulative nature of rubber mulch.

This is exactly why rubber mulch acts as weed barrier.  The rubber stays dry so weed seed dehydrates before it reaches the soil.  It is just that simple!

For more information on our landscape rubber mulch and playground rubber mulch please visit our websites Everlast Rubber Mulch or Playground Rubber Mulch.

Simple DIY Low Maintenance Flowers This Spring

gorgeous spring flowers

                                       Spring Flowers Add Color

care free hanging baskets

Care Free Hanging Baskets

One of my neighbors loves her spring flower baskets.

Unfortunately, her husband is ill and she was worried that she could not keep her flowers watered this year she needed an easy gardening solution.

Now she has drip irrigation forever more.

Most people know us as “the nearly world famous” rubber mulch folks.  Our products offer low maintenance solutions to mulch, weeding, and watering.  My neighbor knows we love low maintenance landscape solutions so she asked me to help her keep her flower baskets and pots looking great without the daily watering hassle.

Here is the solution:

  1. Plant flowers and use soil moist.  I won’t plant anything without it.  What is soil moist?  It is a soil additive that looks like granulated sugar.  It holds numerous times it’s weight in water. It swells up and retains water at the root level keeping your plants hydrated.  A small pinch will do and it is worth it’s weight in gold during hot summer months especially in hanging baskets that have a small amount of soil.
  2. Use drip irrigation.  Simply buy some black poly hose and string it through the branches or bury underground.  It is inexpensive and lasts for years.  Once this Sycamore fills out no one will ever know the irrigation is from above!

DIY irrigation for spring flowers

3. Install little barb fittings to connect 1/4″ hose to the pot waterer.  They come in many different forms.  Short and tall watering spikes that shoot water out in a fan, as a drip, or with a little adjustable sprinkler head like these that can shoot out up to 3′.

drip irrigation save water spring flowers

Drip Irrigation Saves Time and Water

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Pick up a small battery powered timer that connects to a garden hose.  You will need an adapter to go from your garden hose to the black poly pipe.  The timer can be set to water any day or any time you like.  Now you can maintain your busy lifestyle and come home to gorgeous flowers all season long!

drip irrigation how to

One Adapter-Two Hose Clamps and a Piece of Old Hose Connects Your Hose to Poly Pipe

This is project makes a great mother’s day gift or project to enjoy with your kids.  I did 10 baskets for under $100 and it will be there for years to come.

 Now you can make it rain anywhere you want anytime you want.

UPDATE

A few weeks have gone by and now you can see how the drip irrigation and some Osmocote have helped!  Best thing is the owner has not done a bit of work!

flower bed with drip irrigation and rubber mulch

Low maintenance withe DIY irrigation and rubber mulch.