Drought Resistant Decoration
The use of more adaptable, hardy and pest, disease and drought resistant species in our landscapes is fast becoming a popular idea due the benefits they provide environmentally, aesthetically and economically. Drought resistant plants can provide longer lasting blooms while conserving water and saving on water bills; landscape watering makes up a large percentage of water usage during dry conditions. There are areas of our country that cannot afford to use freshwater in this capacity or amount, and many regions are experiencing more frequent and longer lasting dry conditions. With scarcer water conditions becoming a way of life, many people, towns, agencies and homeowners associations are getting and sharing the message of drought tolerance. While native plants are adapted for their specific hardiness region and the environmental characteristics there of, they may not be entirely adapted for extended periods of weather extremes. It is still important to choose native plants to stem the spread of invasives and make care and maintenance energy and financially efficient, however, when selecting plants try to choose native ones more easily adapted/adaptable to drought conditions, weather extremes or variable hydroperiods.
The key to getting drought resistant, or really any plant, successfully established is preparation and planning. Site selection, as always, is critical; find a plant that will flourish within the parameters of your landscape, rather than trying to force or change the situation to match the plant. In other words, choose a species which can tolerate your soil type, amounts of sun and shade available and space to grow. Once the proper site and plant have been selected, prepare the area appropriately: turn and aerate soil, apply compost to turned soil and allow to sit for a few days, then when ready to plant dig a hole deep enough to cover the root ball but allows the root flare to be above the soil line, make sure soil is well hydrated at time of planting, finally mulch properly around freshly planted tree or shrub. Approximately 3 inches of the right kind of mulch will retain moisture and lower soil temperatures during periods of extreme heat. Supplemental watering will still be required during establishment period but once your specimen is thoroughly entrenched it should save you time, money and conserve water for years to come. Even drought tolerant plants need to be properly planted, make sure to contact your arborist to discuss site and species selection, maintenance requirements, planting procedures and soil issues.