Conservation Corner

Tips, resources and news about water-use efficiency

Knowing how to classify your plants by water use characteristics will help you plan your sustainable landscaping. Photo: Water Authority evapotranspiration

Evapotranspiration: The Key To Watering Your Plants

How much water do plants really need in your landscaping? Evapotranspiration (ET) is the process of assessing various factors to determine how much water plants use, and when they need it. ET is a quick, simple way for landscape experts to explain environmental conditions such as solar radiation (sunshine) or cloud cover. The stronger the […]

As San Diego's temperatures soar, be sure your water use isn't soaring by using water resources efficiently. Photo: DaveJessica - Creative Commons License use water resources efficiently

San Diego Region Expects Sizzling Summer Heat

Water Authority offers tips to keep things cool while using water resources efficiently The first major heat wave of summer 2018 in the San Diego region arrived Friday, and it is expected to continue through the weekend. Temperatures hit a record 111 degrees in communities including El Cajon, Escondido, and Ramona on Friday. The City […]

Create a healthy growing environment for your new landscaping with the "soil lasagna" method. Graphic: Water Authority

Cook Up A Soil Lasagna

Healthy, living soil is full of oxygen, water, and life to support your plants. Building healthy soil using layers uses a process called soil sheet mulching, or “Soil Lasagna.” If you have ever cooked lasagna, this will seem familiar. Soil Lasagna boosts healthy microbes so much that they actually cook down the organic matter and […]

Let your grass grow longer in the summer. Photo: PhotoMix - Creative Commons License

The Right Way to Remove Your Lawn

If you have made the decision to replace your thirsty, water-guzzling grass, you need to plan your grass removal process carefully to ensure you leave healthy living soil ready for new landscaping in its place.   Here’s how to do it:  First, keep your grass moist until you remove it. Don’t withhold irrigation and let it […]

How much mulch will you need? It depends on how you'll be using it in your sustainable landscaping. Photo: Phil Roeder/Flickr-Creative Commons License

More About Mulch You Need To Know

 When using mulch in your landscaping, how much mulch do you need? It depends on what job you want it to perform.  To hold in moisture and keep down weeds: Use three to six inches of mulch on top of the soil.  To maintain planting beds: Maintain two to four inches of mulch on beds […]

The winning WaterSmart landscaping project created by Bill and Rachel Williams. Photo: Vista Irrigation District

Vista Irrigation District Announces WaterSmart Landscape Contest Winner

Vista, Calif. – The Vista Irrigation District board of directors recognized one of its customers for their entry in the district’s WaterSmart Landscape Contest. The contest recognizes outstanding water-wise residential landscapes based on the criteria of overall attractiveness, appropriate plant selection, design, appropriate maintenance, and efficient methods of irrigation. Bill and Rachel Williams received the […]

While compost and mulch may seem interchangeable, they have distinctly different uses in your sustainable landscaping. Photo: Water Authority Compost vs. Mulch

Compost vs. Mulch: What’s the Difference?

Compost and mulch may seem like interchangeable terms for the same thing. But they are two different things with different uses in your landscaping.  Compost is a soil amendment. It is made of organic matter such as food scraps, landscape debris, or livestock manure that have already been partially consumed and mostly decomposed by microorganism. […]

Take the Test: Use a Soil Probe

If you want to create a healthy, thriving landscape full of beautiful plants, you need to know how to use an important soil management tool: a soil probe.  Irrigation is essential to keep your landscaping green and growing. But to do so, you need to know as much as possible about your soils. One way […]

Helix Water District Names Winner of 2018 WaterSmart Landscape Contest

Helix Water District has named Carey Hultgren and Paul Geldbach of La Mesa as the winner of its 2018 WaterSmart Landscape Contest, an annual competition that recognizes outstanding water-wise residential landscapes based on design and overall attractiveness, appropriate plant selection and maintenance, and irrigation methods. This 1930s Spanish-style home on Dutton Lane sits on a […]

Three things are required for optimal garden soil: OWL, or oxygen, water, and life. Photo: SDCWA

Gardening Like A Wise Old OWL

Your landscaping soil needs three things to feed the billions of microbes within it that can transform brick-hard, lifeless dirt into healthy, living soil: Oxygen, Water, and Life. Or in shorthand: OWL.  Oxygen Lets Microbes Breathe Free  Oxygen is needed by plant roots and soil organisms. Healthy soil has lots of tiny pockets of air. […]

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

What Kind of Soil Do You Have? Take the Test

If you have ever put a shovel into the ground in San Diego County, you have likely encountered the region’s impermeable soils. Impermeable soils are defined by their poor infiltration areas. This means water doesn’t flow through the soil to replenish the groundwater, because the soil is too dense.   It also means water doesn’t soak […]

San Diego County's six climate zone according to CIMIS

San Diego’s Six CIMIS Climate Zones

Your landscape’s water needs go a long way toward determining your garden’s design and your plant choices. By choosing wisely, you can minimize the need for artificial irrigation and still create a beautiful, sustainable landscape. Under the California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS), San Diego County is divided into six climate zones: Coastal, Coastal Inland, […]

Irrigation Sprinkler Head

Gardeners, Do You Know Your ETo?

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 […]

Choosing native plants can help you minimize the need for artificial irrigation of your San Diego County sustainable landscaping. Photo: SDCWA

Take the Watershed Approach to Landscaping

Many San Diego County residents embrace sustainability as a central principle for creating or renovating their landscapes. Treating every garden, no matter its size, as its own mini-watershed allows it to capture and retain water to nurture a diverse habitat of plants and helpful insects. What elements do you need to consider when taking a […]

Waterwise plant choices sustainble landscaping

Hot off the Press: Sustainable Landscaping Guidebooks Available Countywide

Free manuals include photos, diagrams and checklists for environmentally friendly upgrades. Free copies of a popular guidebook for environmentally friendly landscape upgrades are available to residents countywide starting today, thanks to a second printing of the “San Diego Sustainable Landscape Guidelines” by the San Diego County Water Authority. Homeowners who commit to meeting rigorous sustainable landscaping […]