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RE: Workshop notes

Well, I'm all over planting in shade with all the trees on the property.
Unfortunately, the are closest to running water is on the north side of the
house, on a steep slope, where the sun NEVER reaches.  The only thing that
grows well there is English ivy and some wood fern (which would love SOME
sun.)  I do use soaker hoses as much as possible, especially in the little
bit of sun I do have, though I have a lot of xeroscape type plants for this
area.  It sounds like a very worthwhile workshop!

Thanks for the info!

Bonnie (SW OH - zone 5) 

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-gardenchat@hort.net [mailto:owner-gardenchat@hort.net] On Behalf
Of Bonnie Holmes
Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 6:27 PM
To: gardenchat
Subject: [CHAT] Workshop notes

The workshop was entitled "Gardening by the Drop". The first part of the
workshop concentrated on facts about water, water usage, and contamination.
The next part discussed BMPs ("best management
practices") to reduce runoff, erosion and contamination, including some
interesting formulas. The second day of the workshop concentrated on
horticulture practices that conserved water. Included were figures on cost
and consumption and lists of plants that require less water. Since we are
located in the South, some sessions covered types of soil, and grass and
plants, to consider for our soil, heat and humidity.

As I mentioned, I plan to incorporate several of the horticulture practices
mentioned as I imagine most of you already do and are ahead of me.

Using rain barrels under downspouts. I have one rain barrel that has a
bottom hose connector. Fortunately, it is located in the middle of a narrow
bed of ferns, caladiums, and hostas. With a "Y" connector, I can connect
soaker hoses and let the rain barrel water the garden.

Using downspouts to water gardens. Three additional gardens are located near
downspouts. I need to develop drains to use them to water those gardens.

Dividing the landscape into water-use zones can save time and water.
Locate the high water-use near water sources, usually near the house,
followed by moderate water-use zones that require watering occasionally once
established, and, finally, locating low water-use plantings on the perimeter
(native plants, junipers, crepe myrtles, yaupon holly, oaks).
Put plants with deeper roots systems in the "drier" zones. I haven't done
this and need to work on changing the location of some of my garden types.

Consider alternatives, such as ground covers, shaded patios/decks, mulched
areas, drought-tolerant plants, and planters, for high impact areas to
reduce water needs.

Use efficient irrigation practices such as watering only plants that clearly
need water, water at night or early morning, use drip tubing or ooze hoses,
use timers and rain sensors on your irrigation system, and, use hand-held

Water upgrade since water runs down.
Water right before a storm to take advantage of the "membrane" principle.
Use more shaded areas and prune to let in light to select plants.
If you have an irrigation system, check to make sure you have the correct
number of heads, your nozzles are unclogged and not leaking, check the
pressure to make sure it is not too much or too little, use a pressure
regular and back flow preventer.

Target irrigation to plants that show signs of stress.
If you have grass, leave it 3" long to reduce evaporation.  Grass at this
length is 15 degrees cooler at the roots.
Use drip irrigation as it uses 30-50% less water than does a sprinkler
system.  Only 25% of the root area needs to be watered.
Use tree gators to water trees.  To do this inexpensively, install a 5
gallon bucket with holes around a young tree.
Create rain gardens by utilizing runoff where you have slopes on your
property. (I have this situation in several areas and plan to make better
use of the slopes.) Locate rain gardens at least 10 feet away from
foundations. In-situ soil should have high infiltration rate---1"/hour and
the soil filter rate of 2.5"/hour. Look for plants that can tolerate wet/dry
conditions. Mix natives with non-natives.
Gutters can be piped to gardens. Rain gardens should be clear of water in 3
days to avoid mosquitos. Soil mix for rain garden: 1/3 gravely sand, 1/3
sandy loam, and 1/3 compost leaf or horse manure compost (high organic).

During droughts:  mulch, use grey water, don't plant thirsty annuals, don't
fertilize or prune.
Use a "gator blade" on your mower to more efficiently create grass clippings
which can be left to help hold moisture and add nitrogen.

Websites: www.xeriscape.org,


www.waterwisegardens.org/, www.utextension.edu/publications

Roof gardens can reduce heat by 40% (Chicago study), reduce noise (5"
green roof by 40 db), and save on roof repairs. Although this is very
tempting, I don't have an opportunity. Most of the cost savings are in
original buildings rather than retrofitting.

Plants for slopes in sun: junipers, cotoneaster, ornamental grasses, day
lilies, sedums, abelia, pyracantha, St. John's Wort, thyme, dianthus,
virginia creeper, weeping love grass, crow vetch, carolina yellow jasmine,
algerian ivy (good substitute for English Ivy).

I also have plant suggestions for drought tolerant trees, ornamental plants,
shrubs, vines/ground covers, annuals/perennials, and sun and shade slopes if
anyone is interested.

Bonnie Zone 7/7 ETN

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