Deep-Rooted Solutions

Cut back on water usage by training plants to grow deeper roots


Water is expensive. According to a report in the Voice of San Diego, the price shot up 67 percent from 2007 to 2011. And it has approximately risen another ten percent each year from there. Needless to say, cutting water use is not just about being good to the environment. It’s a pocketbook issue.

One way to cut down on water costs is to use it more efficiently in your landscaping efforts.

A strategy toward this end is to train the roots of plants to grow deeper into the ground. Why? Consider the following:

  • Plants with shallow root are thirstier. Evaporation will sap water from the soil. This means more frequent watering is necessary to keep up with the needs of plants with shallow roots.
  • Shallow-rooted plants are needier. They depend more and more on consistent watering. Plants with deeper roots, on the other hand, are more forgiving and require less frequent attention and can stand a little time away from frequent watering. This is because less water is lost to the dry San Diego climate.
  • Deep watering means longer lasting soil moisture. A reservoir of water deep in the soil will support plants requiring more moisture. That reservoir will also allow drought-resistant plants water to thrive, especially since the soil is so resilient and constant soakings are not necessary.

Developing deep roots
Roots will grow where the water goes, so you want a watering strategy that will promote such growth. To facilitate this strategy, water the soil every day for the first week to get it good and moist. You know you are successful when the waters gets about a foot into the soil profile, which you can check with a spade or narrow shovel.

After that daily treatment, cut back to watering every other day to eventually every third day or even longer. That reservoir you built up could save you when the inevitable shortcomings of irrigation systems. Also since much of San Diego has clay soil, it is advantageous for this method of watering. Keep in mind that clay is better at holding the water than sandy soil, like that found closer to the shore.

Will this be enough to make deep cuts into your water bill? Probably not. Consider other landscaping strategies to really get the most for your money. One of the most powerful ways to reduce costs is to reduce the amount lawn in your yard. Replace it with gravel and move thirsty plants to areas of the yard by the entrances of your home. And, another way to retain moisture in the soil is to use mulch.

Need some assistance in maintaining your landscaping? Contact LePerv Landscape and let our more than 30 years of experience help you create a healthy, environmentally-friendly yard.

Clarke Ramsey
Landscape Artist. I help landscaping dreams come to live. I create raving fans and give my customers the highest quality product available.
Clarke Ramsey
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