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  Joy Blooms in Lubbock


 Lubbock became home in the Spring of 2011.   Moved from hardiness zone 5  to zone 7
Increased the growing seasons by 3 months.  Boy have the rules changed!

Last Updated on:  Tuesday May 24, 2016 06:41 AM

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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."  National Weather 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 there?
  • 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 ideas.
Xeriscape, not zeroscape, promotes creative approaches to reducing the need for water in landscape plantings.  It is being mindful of water conservation.

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 weed growth.

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 center.

  • Zone 1:    An arid zone has the most drought-tolerant plants.  Native plants and other varieties are used and rarely require supplemental watering. My wildflower garden would be considered an arid zone.  I'll locate it toward the back of the property.

  • Zone 2:   A transition zone will have both native plants and those appropriate for a xeriscape garden.  I envision this garden in the middle of the property with pathways.  Perhaps around the path that leads to the shop.

  • Zone 3:  The oasis zone is around the house.  In the backyard it is the area around the expanded patio & pergola (ok they only exist in my head right now)  This will where I plant Bermuda grass.   In the front yard it will around the gazebo (yep, in my head too).

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 surprisingly wide:

A 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 resistant.
  • 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 Baby’s breath.

Joy Blooms . . . in the garden!

The seed is hope; the flower is joy

Gardening in Lubbock    Month-by-Month   Out Door Projects     It's for the Birds    Gardening Lessons from Daddy       
        Compost It!     Gardening Tips /Design     Veggies Anyone?    Gardening Links       Seed/Bulb Resources  My Garden Photo Albums

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