Page 156 - WaterSense at Work

October 2012
Maintaining Soil Quality
Consider the following maintenance tactics to ensure a healthy soil quality:
Add mulch to plant beds to cover bare soil. Re-mulch areas annually to maintain
soil coverage and prevent erosion.
Maintain a sufficient quantity of good topsoil—four to six inches deep—to cap-
ture precipitation as it falls and release water back to plants over time, reducing
irrigation requirements.
Consider incorporating soil amendments into water-logged or fast-draining soils
to attain proper soil water holding capacity. For soils with poor drainage (i.e.,
clay soils) or soils that drain too quickly (i.e., sandy soils), consider incorporating
topsoil or compost to balance soil composition and restore nutrients.
For areas that undergo regular foot or vehicular traffic, aerate the soil annually to
alleviate compaction and improve water infiltration rates.
Maintaining Existing Plants
When maintaining your landscape’s existing plant life, consider the following water-
efficient tips:
Keep the irrigated landscape free of weeds so that water is available for the deco-
rative landscaping. Pull weeds manually instead of using herbicides, which can
contaminate local water sources.
Raise the blade on mowers to allow grass to grow longer. Longer grass promotes
deeper root growth and more drought-resistant turf. Some species of turfgrass
go dormant during dry periods. Consider letting the grass turn brown during
these times. It will recover when rainfall returns.
Encourage the inclusion of shaded areas in the overall landscape design, which
decreases the water needs of surrounding plants. Consider planting additional
trees and shrubbery to increase the amount of shaded area in the future.
MinimizingWater Used for Other Purposes
To minimize the amount of water used for other outdoor-related purposes, consider
the following:
Recirculate water in decorative fountains, ponds, and waterfalls. Shut off these
features when possible to reduce evaporation losses. Check water recirculation
systems annually for leaks and other damage. Consider using non-potable water
in these systems (refer to
Section 8: Onsite Alternative Water Sources
for additional
Do not use water to clean sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, tennis courts, pool
decks, or other hardscapes. Sweep these areas instead.