Opinion: Creating a Sustainable Landscape by Embracing Native and Adaptive Plants

Backyard landscape in San Antonio, Texas | Image by Allison H. Smith/Shutterstock

As spring rolls into summer, many residents are enjoying the outdoors and sprucing up their landscapes. But with the impending Texas heat, how can residents create a beautiful landscape that is resilient and can reduce your outdoor water usage? One solution lies in embracing native and adapted plants. Choosing Texas-friendly plants that are well-adapted to our soils and extreme weather conditions makes a big difference in the success of your landscape.

Once established, these landscapes are naturally hardier, require less maintenance and can thrive on less water.Additionally,native and adapted plants do not require pesticides or fertilizers and provide a natural sanctuary for birds, butterflies, and pollinators.

There are hundreds of native and adapted plants that can thrive in our area and the following suggestions can help residents create a sustainable, drought-tolerant landscape:

Choose the right plants for the right place. Different plants need different amounts of water, sun and shade to survive.

Group plants according to their light and watering needs to reduce water waste.

Add mulch to landscape beds to help conserve water in the soil.

Water twice a week or less and reduce your irrigation run times to short, six- to eight- minute cycles for spray heads and 12- to 14-minute cycles for rotors to minimize runoff and water waste. Splitting up one long irrigation cycle into three shorter ones and allowing some time in between them (30 minutes to an hour) gives water a chance to soak into the ground.

For additional landscaping tips or to sign up for free weekly watering recommendations, check out WaterIsAwesome.com.

You also have an opportunity to purchase tax-free water conserving plants and water-conserving products during the Water-Efficient Products Sales Tax Holiday over the Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27, 2024. For a complete list of eligible products, check out the State Comptroller’s website at comptroller.texas.gov. There is no limit on the number of qualifying items you can buy, and you do not need to give the seller an exemption certificate to buy items tax free.

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