Conservation Corner

Tips, resources and news about water-use efficiency

Soil Microbes-your lawn-healthy soil-Conservation Corner

Remove Your Lawn the Healthy Way

The day has come to replace your thirsty, water guzzling grass. Before you remove it, plan your process carefully to leave only healthy living soil as the foundation for a beautiful, thriving new landscape. Don’t just turn off your irrigation and let your grass turn brown as it dies off. Healthy microbes in your soil […]

Conservation Corner-mulch-landcape-WaterSmartill you need? It depends on how you'll be using it in your sustainable landscaping. Photo: Phil Roeder/Flickr-Creative Commons License mulch master plan

Develop a Mulch Master Plan

How much mulch does your landscaping plan need? To develop your mulch master plan and answer this question, you first need to understand the job it will perform in different areas of your watersmart landscaping plan. If you want to hold in moisture and keep down weeds: Use three to six inches of mulch on […]

Let Nature Be Your Guide: Compost vs. Mulch

You may not know the difference between compost and mulch, but your landscape soil does. Compost and mulch represent two different soil treatments with different advantages when used in a watersmart landscape plan. Compost is made of organic matter such as food scraps, landscape debris, or livestock manure that have already been partially consumed and […]

Irrigation-Soil-roots-Conservation Corner your plants, use a soil probe. Photo: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels soil probe tips

Soil Probe Tips for Success

Knowing how to use a soil probe as an important soil management tool will support your effort to create a healthy, thriving landscape full of beautiful plants. You need to first know as much as possible about your soil to understand your irrigation needs. Irrigation is critical to keep your landscaping green and growing. But […]

Set yourself up for landscaping success by building the best foundation in your soil structure. Photo: walkersalmanac/Pixabay

Oxygen, Water, and Life Create Healthy Landscape Soil

Your landscaping soil needs three things to feed the billions of microbes within it to transform brick-hard, lifeless dirt into healthy, living soil sponges: oxygen, water, and life. Think OWL to remember these important, interconnected factors. Oxygen lets microbes breathe free Oxygen is needed by healthy plant roots and soil organisms. Healthy soil has lots […]

Compare your soil to these diagrams to determine your landscaping's soil composition. You can then adjust amendments to reach the optimum mix. Illustration: SDCWA Jar Soil Test

Improve Your Landscaping Soil With a Soil Test

One of the first steps in your landscape makeover project involves preparing the soil to allow efficient use of irrigation. San Diego County soil quality needs a lot of help. The area is defined by impermeable soils with poor infiltration areas. Water doesn’t flow through the soil to replenish the groundwater, because it is made […]

Homeowner Jeff Moore's back yard zen garden featuring his landscape work fit beautifully into his area's climate zone. Photo: Water Authority climate zone

Match Your Climate Zone to Your Landscaping Plan

Making smart decisions about your landscape design and your plant choices relies in large part on your climate zone. San Diego County’s six different climate zones vary in their average conditions. By choosing wisely, you can minimize the need for artificial irrigation and still create a beautiful, sustainable landscape. The California Irrigation Management Information System […]

Fruit trees, especially citrus, thrive in San Diego County’s climates with just a little bit of care. The Pineapple Guava (Acca sellowiana) is a good choice with spectacular blooms. Photo: WIkimedia/Creative Commons License Edible Plants climate zone

Sustainable Gardeners, Get Into Your Climate Zone

People around the world know San Diego for its beautiful, sunny, and mild weather. San Diego residents know our daily weather has more variety than visitors might imagine. Climate is defined as the average weather conditions in an area over a long period, generally 30 years or more. German climate scientist Wladimir Koppen first divided […]

Matilija poppies, or Romneya coulteri, have the largest flower of any poppy. It's native to dry, sunny areas from California to Baja and are good choiices for successful sustanable landscaping. Photo: Kimberly Rotter / Pixabay

Follow Four Key Principles for Successful Sustainable Landscaping

Efficient water use is an important responsibility that comes along with the benefits of living in San Diego County’s beautiful Mediterranean climate. No matter whether your landscaping is just a few square feet alongside a small front porch, or covers many acres on a luxury estate, San Diego County residents have learned to embrace sustainability […]

Turf rebates-Fall planting-November 2020-

Lawn Rebates for Fall Planting Season

Fall planting season is underway and a great time to take advantage of rebates for replacing your lawn. “Fall is like a second spring for planting in our region and it’s also a great opportunity for residents to take advantage of some outdoor incentives as they replace grass with climate appropriate plants,” said Joni German, […]

Brian Idekler of O'Connell Landscape Maintenance installs a flow control sensor for the San Elijo HOA. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

WaterSmart Contractor Incentive Program Benefits San Elijo HOA

A major landscape makeover is helping a San Diego County neighborhood save money during these uncertain economic times. The WaterSmart Contractor Incentive Program helps qualified landscape contractors as well as large homeowners associations, save money and improve water-use efficiency in large landscapes by retrofitting irrigation devices. The San Diego County Water Authority and the Vallecitos […]

water recycling-national recycling day

New Water Recycling Videos on National Recycling Day

National Recycling Day on November 15 celebrates and promotes recycling practices to reduce waste and decrease energy demands, ultimately preventing pollution and fighting climate change. This year, the Water Authority partnered with the Southern California Water Coalition to promote water recycling. National Recycling Day brings new video series The Water Authority and other SCWC members, […]

San Marcos coffee farmer Kyle Rosa walks through his 2.5 acre property. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Vallecitos Water District Helps San Marcos Coffee Farmer Brew Success

San Diego County agriculture is well-known for citrus and avocados. Kyle Rosa is counting on coffee joining this list. Rosa, owner of Bluetail Coffee Grove, started growing coffee on a 2.5-acre farm in San Marcos last year. After 15 years in the finance industry, Rosa and his wife moved from San Francisco to start their […]

El Camino Real Infrastructure Project Reaches Milestone

The Olivenhain Municipal Water District project to replace aging water infrastructure along El Camino Real in Encinitas has now reached the halfway point. After getting underway in March 2020 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the project is making steady progress. District officials expect the entire project to be completed in Spring 2021.

Donner-Summit-2015-Primary-Water Year

La Niña and California’s New Water Year

It’s that time of the year in California, when water managers, climatologists and meteorologists look at the factors that determine what the winter will bring during Water Year 2020-21 (October 1, 2020 – September 30, 2021). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently said that La Niña conditions are present in the tropical Pacific, “with […]