Gail Donaldson, Water Conservation Manager, City of Allen, gave a talk to members of the Block Leader program on managing the landscape in the present drought and with the upcoming change to Stage 2: allowing sprinkler watering only twice per week and (before 10 am and after 6 pm). This will start August 19th.
The following points were covered.
1. Save the trees; all trees require deep watering about once per week, either with a soaker hose or a very slow drip from a garden hose around the drip-line. Trees should be mulched as well but not close to the trunk.
2. No new landscape planting! Any type of plant will not survive in twice per week watering when our temperatures are over 98 degrees.
Annuals and some existing perennial plants will need supplemental hand watering. Use drip or soaker hoses and mulch all beds well.
3. Check your irrigation system.
Check for broken nozzles etc., and repair right away. Program the controller to run in the Cycle Soak Method which is using shorter run times with multiple start times, having a 30 minute break between waterings, to make sure that the water penetrates to a depth of 6 inches.
4. Change your maintenance for all plants:
Increase mowing height of the turf by one notch on the mower.
Never mow more then 1/3 of the grass blade.
Stop use of fertilizers
Stop use of herbicides except spot spray if necessary
Limit use of insecticides.
Mulch mow only
Note: Bermuda and Buffalo Grass has the ability to go dormant under heat and drought stress and may recover after rains and temperatures return to normal. St. Augustine does not have this ability.
Trees, Shrubs, Groundcovers and Perennials:
Stop use of pesticides and fertilizers
No shearing of shrubs
No pruning of trees except to remove dead limbs
Water as necessary, deeply but infrequently.
Keep roots alive with minimal water and be creative in collecting water for reuse for the plants. Helpful hints may be found at http://www.wateruseitwisely.com
Further information is available at the City Of Allen