Nature's Grandeur Graphics
Xeriscaping Tips
Desert Marigold

Xeriscaping Tips

Desert Marigolds

My favorite native plant is Desert Marigold.  They are beautiful, bloom all summer long, reseed themselves, and require no watering.  All that I do is thin them out.

Tree Watering and Water Penetration Depth

Since trees in xeriscaped yards don’t naturally receive much water, I came up with this technique to ensure they get enough water.  I created a small ditch (about 12” wide x 6” deep) near the tree drip line.  To water, I fill the ditch using a garden hose.  In order to determine how deep the water has soaked into the ground, I push a 1/4” diameter steel rod into the soil.  The rod goes thru the moist soil fairly easily, but stops when it hits dry soil.  I water to about 3 feet deep.

Bermuda Grass Lawn Removal

My lawn was covered with Bermuda grass.  I found a website which said: to kill Bermuda you need to go thru at least 3 cycles of spraying with Roundup and removing dead crowns.  Roundup will kill any green plant, has minimal toxicity to insects and animals, and breaks down quickly.  Here’s the process I used:

  1. When the grass started growing in the spring, I rented a sod cutter and cut the top off the Bermuda in the front yard.  Then kept the yard well watered.
  2. When the Bermuda had about an inch of green growth, I sprayed the front and the back yards with Roundup and Mark-It Blue dye.  Then kept the yard well watered.
  3. When the grass turned brown (about 2 weeks), I rented the sod cutter again and cut the crowns off of the grass in the front and back yards.
  4. I continued several cycles of: watering, spraying when the grass was an inch long, watering, and removing crowns when the grass was brown, but used a hoop hoe to cut off the remaining crowns instead of a sod cutter.
  5. When it started cooling off, and the growth rate of Bermuda slowed, I terminated the process.

The grass did not seem to die any faster in the front yard, where I used the sod cutter before the first application of Roundup.

Along many roads, the City of Albuquerque uses crusher fines (with no landscaping fabric) in their xeriscaping.  This appeared to be a good looking, low cost, low maintenance approach, so I followed their example.  Most people use landscaping fabric covered with rocks.  I like the crusher fine look, and don’t like the idea of a buried layer of landscaping cloth that someone will have to deal with some day.

A few weeds and some grass come up.  I spray them with Roundup (about 8 times a year).  I’m pleased with the results, but I wish I had created a rolling surface before I covered the soil with crusher fines, so that water would collect in depressions when it rains.

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