Here in the Bay Area, we’re now in the middle of summer. And unfortunately, the end of the four year old California drought is nowhere in sight. Thanks to governor Jerry Brown, every resident, business and government organization is now challenged with mandatory water usage reductions.
As a result, conserving precious water resources should now be a top priority for every landscape professional.
Drought symptoms you can’t ignore.
Plants that do not receive enough water due to drought or governmental restrictions aimed at water conservation will eventually show signs of stress.
According to guidelines published by the University of Davis, plants vary in the amount of water they require for optimal growth and development. And most exhibit characteristic symptoms when they are in need of water. Because plants need to be watered at an early stage of water deficit to prevent irreversible damage, it’s crucial to check plants regularly for symptoms of drought. The tell tale signs are most evident during the afternoon and they include:
- wilting or drooping leaves that do not return to normal by evening
- curled or yellow leaves that may fold or drop
- foliage that becomes grayish and loses its green luster
- new leaves that are smaller or stem sections that are closer together than normal
If reduced water usage is making you thirst for a solution to keep your client’s new or existing landscape installation beautiful, don’t despair. Because helping a landscape thrive under drought or water restrictions doesn’t have to be stressful for you.
Time to get dirty.
There’s no better way to conserve water and save the investments that your clients are making in their landscape than by using mulch. Using mulch in your installation offers great benefits including:
- Holding in soil moisture, protecting plants from drying out quickly
- Keeping plant roots cool in hot summer temperatures
- Moderating soil temperature fluctuations
- Inhibiting weed germination and growth
- Preventing weeds from stealing valuable nutrient resources from your plants
- Adding nutrition to soil as it breaks down
- Protecting plant roots from winter cold and helps prevent frost-heaving—where plants are literally pushed out of the ground by the natural expansion and contraction of the soil as it cools off and heats up
The best mulch to use depends on your site, soil condition and your preferred method of irrigation.
Don’t be stingy. Or too generous.
Consider that nature covers bare ground over a few years with organic material (mulch) from surrounding shrubs and trees. Your goal should be to aid mother nature by covering the ground with mulch in the areas that are the most exposed.
Mulch, placed on top of the ground is what native plants prefer. But be advised, using the wrong mulch or a cheap substitute is asking for trouble. Lawn clippings, manure or straw are not good mulches for native or drought tolerant plants.
It’s also not a good idea to spread mulch too thin to make it cover more area. The benefits of mulch work best if you have at least 2-3 inches on the landscape. If you just can’t cover all the plants with a tight budget, use a wheelbarrow load around each plant.
Over doing it isn’t a good choice either. Because if you use more than 6 inches, you’ll smother your plants.
Plenty of water saving choices within reach.
From Walt Whitman mulch to Fir Bark our blended mulches and soil amendments are specially made for Bay Area installations including: residential gardens, structural planting, rooftop gardens and more. Our mulches are conveniently packaged in 2 cubic ft. bags for easy loading and transportation. And they’re ready for immediate pick-up right in our Colma growing grounds. We can even deliver them right to your job site with your Plant Material Order.
Drop by our Colma location to check out all of our mulches in person. One of our sales team members can provide you with pricing on any of these items and help you choose the best mulch for your installation. We look forward to seeing you soon!