About the Journal
2003 Highlights &
Calendar of Events
Things to Expect & Do
An Agave Stalk
Becomes A Nursery
Pruning My Red Bird
Coping with those
Who Am I?
Going Bananas in the
Small Trees for the
in Citrus Leaves
Landscape Water Use
Results are In
Two Citrus Clinics
E A R T H - F R I E N D L Y G A R D E N I N G
Landscape Water Use Results are In
by Cathy Rymer,
Water Conservation Specialist, Town of Gilbert
A survey of the landscape practices and preferences of 1800 homeowners by
researchers at Arizona State University has some very interesting results.
More homeowners preferred an oasis-type landscape design combining
desert-adapted plants and a small turf area for recreation. However, it seems
homeowners with programmable irrigation systems do not adjust their water
applications to seasonal changes as recommended by horticulturists and water
Also studied was the effect of frequent pruning on a plant's water intake.
Results showed that frequent pruning had the effect of increasing a plant's need
for water because of the increased production of new leaves to replace those
lost. Plants given low irrigation volume and pruned only yearly had the highest
water use efficiency.
Plant appearance preferences were evaluated, and survey respondents preferred
shrubs with a more natural shape to those formally hedged.
When two yards containing typical desert-adapted plants were compared, the
results were surprising. Although the front yards were similar in size and
plant material, and contained no turf, the watering practices were dramatically
different. One household applied 218,000 more gallons of water per year than
the other - a difference of nearly 700 percent. However, "no measurable or
visible differences in plant appearance or fitness" could be documented!
What does all this mean? Many homeowners apply more water to their landscapes
than the plants really need. Most could safely adjust their irrigation
practices and apply water less often without affecting plant appearance or
health. Follow the chart below for recommended irrigation schedules. Remember:
"Plants Don't Save Water, People Do"
Maricopa County Master Gardener Volunteer Information
Last Updated January 23, 2004
Author: Lucy K. Bradley, Extension Agent Urban Horticulture, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County
© 1997 The University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cooperative Extension in Maricopa County
Comments to Maricopafirstname.lastname@example.org 4341 E. Broadway Road, Phoenix, AZ 85040,
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