There are many in Lodi who can’t afford to install solar panels or buy an electric car to “go green” and be more energy conservative.
But that hasn’t stopped everyone. Another way people have begun to save energy is xeriscaping, or landscaping or gardening in ways that reduce or completely eliminate the need for an irrigation system.
Xeriscaping is a combination of two words: “xeri,” derived from the Greek word “xeros” for dry; and “scape,” meaning a kind of view or scene, according to CalRecycle.
The practice can involve the planting of vegetation that requires less water, or even small irrigation systems that use less water.
Bob Quenzel, owner of RJQ Landscape and Design, said xeriscaping is becoming more prevalent thanks to Assembly Bill 1881, the Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance, which requires commercial landscapes include water efficient systems.
Quenzel said drip irrigation systems, which are typically low-pressure, low volume water delivery systems, are some of the most common types of landscaping tools used to comply with the bill.
Drip systems usually consist of long, narrow black tubes that can be placed under your garden plants.
Some drip irrigation systems deliver just one drop of water at a time, and are made from flexible vinyl or polyethylene pipe. Such systems are usually installed underground on commercial sites. Residents who use the drip system can either install them underground, or just cover them with mulch and leave them aboveground.
Quenzel said AB 1881, passed in 2006, will eventually require state residents to begin using xeriscaping techniques.
“Those could include using less water-demanding plants, or designing a front yard with less lawn,” he said. “A typical lawn is probably 80 percent lawn and 20 percent plants. To save water you could have just 20 percent lawn and 80 percent plants.”
While xeriscaping may become mandatory in the future, Art Duivenvoorde, manager at Hollandutch Nursery in Lodi, said not enough people are practicing it — but that could change as more people in 2013 began getting new water meters that measure consumption in their homes.
“What they’re doing is just turning their lawns into rock to save money,” Duivenvoorde said, “although there are people who use the drip lines.”
For those who do practice xeriscaping, Duivenvoorde said there are other methods than simply buying water-efficient plants. Placing mulch or tanbark under and around your plants will help lock moisture in and keep vegetation moist.
Another way to xeriscape and save water is Backyard Orchard Culture, or BYOC, Duivenvoorde said, which involves planting an assortment of fruit trees close together and keeping them small by pruning.
But if you’re a gardener who loves to keep plants in your yard, Duivenvoorde said there are a number of plants that require little water throughout the year. The most common are cacti. However, plants such as rosemary, juniper, manzanita or barberry are also great for xeriscaping, he said.
Contact reporter Wes Bowers at firstname.lastname@example.org.