Maintain Regularly According to
Good Horticultural Practices
Maintenance a Priority
There is no such thing as a maintenance free landscape.
All xeric landscapes will require regular seasonal maintenance
to retain their health, vigor, and attractiveness.
The use of native plants and low-growing alternative
turf grasses will help to lessen the maintenance load,
but regular maintenance is still required.
Fighting the Weed Battle
One of the most important regular maintenance items
is weeding. As competition for water in the landscape
increases during the warm summer months, weeds begin
to gain ground by stealing water from your landscape
plantings. When you are trying to conserve water, excessive
weeds can become a major factor. One of the best
most effective methods of weed control is to simply
pull them out. If you have followed the principle
applying mulch, this task should be fairly easy. It
is important to pull weeds before they set seed
create a new crop of weeds. Also, if weeds are being
recycled into a compost pile, it is important to
them before the seed becomes mature as the temperatures
in compost piles are not hot enough to sterilize
seeds. If you have a large expanse of weeds to eradicate,
the careful use of herbicide is much more practical.
Just be sure to follow the directions on the label
Mature shrubs will require periodic pruning to maintain
health and vigor. Regular pruning will help prevent
plants from becoming leggy, with production only in
the top portion of the plant. Old overgrown stems should
be pruned back close to the ground, thinning the plant
out and allowing the newer vegetation to produce more
leaves closer to the base.
Fall & Winter Watering
Fall and winter watering is critical to the health and
vigor of landscape plantings especially under drought
conditions. Unfortunately, winter watering is often
overlooked. Even worse, many people believe that watering
during the winter will freeze roots. This is completely
false. Even though trees and shrubs appear to go dormant
during the winter months, root systems will remain active
until the soil temperature drops below 40 degrees. Even
then, some deep roots may continue to absorb much needed
moisture through the entire winter. The lack of winter
moisture is one of the main dangers plants in our region
face. Plants that do not receive adequate winter moisture
may not leaf out well in the spring. Or, they may leaf
out well but begin to exhibit stress symptoms indicated
by browning leaves in early summer. The plants show
stress when they do because they have leafed out using
all of the stored energy in the branches, twigs and
buds. Once the energy is depleted, dehydrated roots
struggle to keep up. Just when the water demand within
the plant increases to supply the new leaves, and the
overall evapotranspiration rate climbs due to summer
heat, the root system now cannot supply it. Supplemental
water should be applied periodically to the landscape
during dry years from October through March.
Maintenance for the Xeric Landscape
Aerate lawns and mow to a height of three inches.
Check sprinkler systems & clean filter. Prune
evergreen shrubs. Work compost into soil. Plant
new trees and shrubs. Apply new mulch as needed.
Plant new annuals. Maintain a regular
schedule of pest control. Remove weeds regularly.
Trim dead flower heads. Mow grass to a height
of 21/2” to 3”. Check sprinkler coverage
& clean filter system every four weeks.
Apply lawn fertilizer. Water the landscape well
in preparation for winter. Cut back spent flowers.
Clean up fallen leaves and dead plant material
and add to the compost pile. Blow out underground
sprinkler system to prevent freezing and breaking
Water root zones of plants by hand if there is
no precipitation. Prune deciduous trees &