Conserving Water in an Unlikely Way
Does the shape you choose for your bushes and plants make any difference to the health of the plant or how much water it requires to thrive? Most people would answer no; it’s simply a matter of style and taste that should determine the shape of your landscaping.
While many people prefer the more structured style of trimming bushes and trees, affectionately called the lollipop or hockey puck, in reality over pruning is extremely unhealthy to plants and trees. Excessive trimming of plants cause them to spend all of their energy producing new growth at the crown to help with photosynthesis. Leaving only a thin layer of leaves keep the plants looking woody and makes the plant more susceptible to disease. This also causes the plant to require more water to survive, resulting in substantially higher water bills for homeowners and homeowners associations.
From an aesthetics standpoint, over-shearing can create a woody, nonflowering look. Often times when the plants finally begin to flower they are sheared and residents are robbed of the experience of witnessing the beautiful color these plants provide.
How can you avoid over-shearing?
The best place to start is by hiring a landscape contractor that practices Sustainable Landscape Management (SLM) when caring for your plants and trees. SLM uses rejuvenation cutbacks and natural pruning to properly maintain plants. These cutbacks and natural pruning practices follow the plants specific flowering schedule to allow for color throughout the year. Naturally maintained plants are healthier, flower more fully and save water, resulting in significant cost savings for the Association, especially during the hot summer months.
How should an Association water their plants for optimal health?
Plants require longer durations of water rather than frequency, this practice is called Deep Root Watering. An irrigation audit will often reveal that an Association’s irrigation controllers are programmed incorrectly. During hot temperatures, plants should be watered for longer periods such as 1 to 1 ½ hours every two or three days rather than 30 to 45 minutes every day. Deep Root Watering promotes root growth and leaches the soil of salts often found in our water.
Following these suggestions will ensure that an Association gets the most out of their beautiful plants while still conserving water.
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