Xeriscaping in Lubbock
Xeriscaping here in Lubbock is a necessity.
Links to Zeriscaping Web Sites
Contrary to popular thought xeriscaping is not
planting cactus and covering the yard with gravel. It is "water conservation
through creative landscaping".
Parts of Lubbock County are considered to be in moderate drought while others are
considered to be "abnormally dry" according to the most recent Drought Monitor from the
USDA, NOAA and other federal agencies. At the end of April, unofficial Lubbock
precipitation for 2011 is 0.84 of an inch. "In fact, as of May 8, 2011, total
yearly precipitation at Lubbock officially stood at 0.88 inches, or 2.86 inches below
the average of 3.74 inches."
Service Weather Forecast Office
High Plains Underground Water Conservation District
provides for the conservation, preservation,
protection, recharging, and prevention of waste of groundwater stored in the Ogallala
aquifer within the boundaries of the district.
Let's get started:
- Make a list of native plants. Visit your local
plant nurseries as scope them out.
- Do an inventory of the land. What is the
drainage? What is the exposure to sun and wind? What type of soil is
- Do you want to attract birds or butterflies?
Will the plants be on level ground or a hillside - what is the terrain?
- Grab pencil and paper and start writing down your
Xeriscape, not zeroscape, promotes creative approaches to
reducing the need for water in landscape plantings. It is being mindful of water
Denver Water Department (DWD) coined the term "xeriscape"
in the late 1970's. It is now part of landscaping vocabulary. Below is a
synopsis of their plan for water conservation in the garden:
1. Plan and design -- sketch out the elements of your landscape. Include
your house, driveway, sidewalk, deck or patio, existing trees, etc. Add
land use areas - dog run, children's play area, outdoor dining, patio, veggie garden,
Flower beds, etc.
2. Soil amendment -- What is composition of
the soil? Plants should either fit the soil or soil can be amended to fit the
plants. Either way works.
3. Efficient irrigation --
Xeriscape can be irrigated efficiently by hand or with an automatic sprinkler system.
For grass, an underground sprinkler system works well. The DWD suggests using
gear-driven rotors or rotary spray nozzles that have larger droplets and low angles to
avoid wind drift. They suggest adding spray, drip line or bubbler emitters
for watering trees, shrubs, flowers and groundcovers. If you water by hand, the
most efficient sprinklers release big drops close to the ground. As a rule of
thumb, it is better to water deeply and infrequently. This encourages the plants
to develop a deep root system. Always water early morning to reduce water
lost to evaporation.
4. Appropriate plant and zone selection --
Group plants together that require similar amounts of light and moisture. This
minimizes water usage. Put moderate-water-use plants in low-lying drainage areas, near
downspouts, or in the shade of other plants.
5. Mulch -- 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch
keeps plant roots cool, prevents soil from crusting, minimizes evaporation and reduces
6. Alternative turf -- Native grasses
(warm-season) that have been cultivated for turf lawns. These are greenest in
June through September and straw brown the rest of the year. Select grass that
require a limited amount of water.
Here is Lubbock, Buffalo
grass typically needs 0.5-1.0”/watering. Tex-Turf 10 and common
Bermuda need approximately 1” per
watering, and Fescue needs 1.5-2.0” per
watering. Fescue is a cool season grass, which normally goes dormant during the
hottest months whereas the other grasses go dormant closer to frost and throughout the
winter. Fescue will live in shade whereas the others require full sunlight.
7. Maintenance -- All landscapes require
some degree of care during the year. Keep your grass height at 3 inches and allow the
clippings to fall. Trees, shrubs and perennials will need occasional pruning to remove
dead stems, promote blooming or control height and spread. Much of the removed plant
material can be shredded and used in composting piles.
There are 3 Xeriscape Zones
In order to conserve water, planting are
grouped according to their watering requirements. The plants requiring the least
about are placed on the outer edges while those needing the most waters are placed in
The concept of xeriscape landscaping became a popular plan
in areas where water is scarce and soil conditions are poor. The choices for plants is
xeriscape garden uses native plants that have low water
requirements. The secret to xeriscape landscaping is to use water in
well-controlled amounts and locations.
There are many flowering perennials that are drought
- Plants with a silvery foliage such as Artemisia,
catmint, and perovskia (Russian Sage) are usually drought resistant.
- Soapwort, Sedum varieties, thymes varieties, mints,
oreganos, catnip, Marjoram, sage, hyssop, and savory are also drought resistant.
- Flowers include Sunflowers, Mexican Sunflower,
Silver Lace Vine, Oriental and Shirley Poppies, Sea Lavender, Salvias, Penstemon,
Lamium, Iris, Daylily, Coreopsis, Echinacea, Black-eyed Susan, Batchelor button, and