WHY NATIVE GRASSES ARE GREAT LOW WATER USE PLANTS

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Native plants are exactly what their name indicates – plants that have historically grown organically in an area. Because these plants have adapted to regions’ climates for centuries, they’re perfectly suited to growing in your backyard with little help from you.

Native plants and grasses are great low-water-use plants because they’ve adapted to the soil in which they grow, and their deep root systems are capable of storing water gathered primarily from rainfall.

When designing your landscape for water efficiency, be sure to choose plants that are defined as low water use or drought tolerant for your area. These plant species will be able to survive in your climate with minimal, if any, need for supplemental watering. Drought-tolerant plants include:

  • Coneflower
  • Salvia
  • Lavender
  • Russian Sage
  • California Poppy
  • Licorice Plant
  • Veronica

Choosing native plants can be intimidating, but keep in mind that drought tolerant plants often have a unique leaf structure such as:

  • Fine lacy foliage–reduced leaf surface means less water lost through surface evaporation
  • Thick, succulent or waxy leaves–thick leaves store more moisture
  • Hairy or fuzzy leaves–fine hairs keep moisture trapped at the leaf surface

Planting for Success

When planting the seeds to establish native grasses, you’ll need to water the newly planted seeds to prevent the top of the soil from drying out. Even the most drought tolerant grasses require supplemental water until they are established. The smaller the root system, the more water they'll need, but the general rule is one inch of water per week (including rain). Less frequent but deep watering is better for plants than more frequent but light watering because it encourages them to send their roots down deeper into the soil.

When the grass is about an inch tall, you can decrease the frequency and increase the depth of watering. You can stop adding water once the grass is established and just count on rain to do the watering for you.