if water consumption is not reduced, Colorado Springs will be faced with water restrictions.
You and your landscape can help.
Lake Meade, the largest water reservoir in the United States, has reached an all time low. The entire Colorado River Basin and Lake Powell are also in dire condition. As a member of the 7 state Colorado River Compact, signed in 1922, the water levels at Lake Meade will impact water use in Colorado. This compact would allow the lower basin states (Arizona, California, and Nevada) to place a call for water on the upper basin states (Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Wyoming) requiring water restrictions to be implemented. Colorado Springs residents rely on the Colorado River for 70% of their water. Add drought conditions, low snowpack, and population growth in to the equation and Colorado Springs residents WILL need to make adjustments to water usage. While there is currently has 2.6 years of water demand in storage we are joining Colorado Springs Utilities in the need to bolster storage amounts through smart landscape design, install, and management.
The good news? Timberline’s experts are well versed in water conserving measures that you can take. We hope these tips will help our clients:
- Take proactive approach to utilize native plant material, which are adapted to out climate.
- Adopt landscape design ideals are aesthetically pleasing AND water conscious.
- Utilize Smart irrigation and technology to help plant material thrive, without overwatering or wasting water.
Things you can do
If you do not plan to use an areas for human or animal play, consider alternatives to Kentucky Blue Grass such as native grass. Converting the areas to a plant bed with low water use ground cover, shrubs, and trees is another great route.
Xeriscaping In Colorado Springs
Xeriscaping makes use of plants and shrubs – and sometimes a variety of other visually appealing materials – that don’t require a lot of water.
Design and maintenance changes can have a positive effect on your water usage. These practices will help you conserve water and benefit the environment.
Landscaping with Native Plants
When native plants are sited correctly they require reduced external inputs such as watering, fertilize and pruning.
Cycle & Soak Irrigation
Need more information?
Don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we can help you manage your water usage through efficient landscaping or irrigation assistance.
Can I use rain barrels?
Yes, but unfortunately rain barrels do not aid in significant water consumption reductions.
What about artificial turf?
Artificial turf is a viable option for residential homeowners but quality should be considered. Better quality artificial turf will not get as hot as less expensive varieties.
How do I use soil amendments?
Amending your soil improves the soil health and provides nutrients to plant material. This creates a better environment for the root system to thrive. With a new landscape, soil amendments are required for turf in Colorado Springs at 4 cubic yards per 1,000 sq ft. It’s difficult, but not impossible, to add soil amendments into an existing landscape. Perform a soil test first to ensure you apply what your soil and plants need.
As a best practice, amendments should be tilled in to the area, not just laid on top of existing soil. The best time to do this would be in the spring when the grass isn’t growing. Aerate your lawn and topdress with soil amendments. Make sure that you rake it into all of the holes. We recommend adding soil amendments to planting beds as well.
Should I still winter water?
Yes. Winter watering aids in establishment of plant material and is important in long-term maintenance plans. What’s planted out here in Colorado springs is not native. In order for these plants to come out their best in the springtime you have to water them.
There are good rules of thumb for watering the right amount in the winter. Measure your tree with calipers 12″ from the ground. Your tree/shrub should get 10 gallons of water per caliper inch. The frequency will depend on the weather. If you have any further questions, please get in touch with a Timberline expert.
What are some other things I can do?
Deep root water with a moisture manager. Moisture managers and wetting agents are amendments that help hold water in the soil. Topdressing on turf is good, but for plants like trees and shrubs you’ll need to go deeper to get to the roots. We recommend calling an expert.
If you’d still like to have some sort of grass, you could compromise with native grass in low-use areas. While not suitable for sports fields with high traffic, native grass requires less water.
You may have to choose between your turf and your trees. We recommend placing your focus on the latter. Besides the fact that it’s easier to establish turf than a large tree, shifting your attention to your trees may help provide more shade and save your other plants.