Rancho Santa Fe residents have received the loud and clear message that water usage must be reduced by 35% immediately. Since landscaping accounts for the majority of residential water use, it makes sense to look closely at alternatives. Redesigning areas of our yards with conservation choices and shifting our mindset from that desired emerald green lawn.
How to reduce landscape water consumption and to convert existing landscapes is less clear. Many of our clients in The Ranch initially expressed concern about losing their investment in trees and shrubs. Here are the tips to help you comply with the water restrictions while also protecting your trees and shrubs:
Justify your lawn square footage. If you use the lawn for play, keep it; otherwise, remove it and replace with a drought tolerant variety of grass such as Native Bentgrass or UC Verde Buffalograss. When established, these varieties of lawn can use up to 75% less water than a standard Fescue lawn. You may choose to eliminate your Fescue lawn altogether and enjoy the soft yellow grasses blowing in the breeze.
Aerate your lawn and top dress with organic matter (compost) to help retain moisture.
Water with shorter run times and use multiple start times. For instance, run your spray heads for 2-5 minutes. Wait an hour and then run it again for 2-5 minutes and repeat for a final third or fourth run. Multiple short run times are better than one longer run time because it reduces runoff and allows the water to soak in deeply. This establishes a healthier, more vigorous root system.
Protect your mature trees by reducing shrubs or groundcover under their canopy. This will reduce the competition for moisture to the trees roots. Additionally, mulch under the canopy and water deeply once a week or less
Thin your mature tree canopy to reduce its water need. Instead of “hat racking” the tree, lace it to strengthen the branch structure and to keep the tree’s natural form. Hire a professional landscape company like Nature Designs to manage your tree care
In addition to reducing water usage and lowering monthly water bills, a style change is upon us in our landscape color palette. Enjoy butter yellow, olive green, soft lavenders, and magentas to better complement our Tuscan and Spanish-style homes. Ultra green and tightly manicured lawns are being replaced with natural flowing meadows.
Irrigation should be scheduled for one or two days a week or less instead of three days. To report water waste, call the Santa Fe Irrigation District at (858) 227-5801, option 1. If someone reports your water waste, expect to receive a door hanger or a letter of warning. With the second violation, you will be fined $100, the third time, $200, and each violation afterwards is a $500 offense.
If you have any questions about reducing your landscape water consumption, please contact Nature Designs at mail@NatureDesigns.Net, visit our website NatureDesigns.Net, or give us a call at (760) 945-4321.