Q & A
By Calvin Finch, Ph.D.
Name three root-hardy, perennial xeriscape plants that bloom
A. Firebush, esperanza, and poinciana indigo spires salvia,
Mexican bush sage, and Mealy blue sage.
Q. What is the most
efficient way to water vegetable and flower gardens?
A. Drip irrigation slowly places the water right on the
root system. That is why it is so efficient.
Q. What reduces water
need and reduces weeds, so trees and shrubs grow faster when
placed on the root system?
A. Mulch reduces weeds and conserves water. Three inches
of mulch over a newly planted tree root system can increase
growth by 40 percent.
Q. How do you keep soaker
hoses from wasting water?
A. Soaker hoses are pressure dependent so to keep them
from wasting water only turn on the spigot a quarter of a turn.
Q. How often does St.
Augustine grass have to be watered in the summertime to keep
A. St. Augustine only requires water every two weeks
in the summertime to keep it alive.
Q. Soil in the San Antonio
area gets compacted and water does not penetrate very well.
What is the solution?
A. Aerate the lawn with an aerator that cuts plugs and
lays them on the ground.
Q. If you have a leak
that results in a larger-than-normal water bill, are you just
out of luck?
A. No, contact SAWS at 704-SAVE. In most cases SAWS will
forgive the extra costs on the bill due to the leak if you get
the leak fixed.
Q. Can families who
buy a new home take advantage of the landscape rebate?
A. Yes, just select zoysia, buffalo, or Bermuda grass
instead of St. Augustine for $0.05 per square foot. If more
than 50 percent is groundcovers or mulch, you get $0.10 per
Q. Roses are everybody's
favorite plant. Are any roses xeriscape plants?
A. Yes — all old-fashioned roses can survive with limited
Q. What are some good
water-saving groundcovers that can tolerate more shade than
St. Augustine grass?
A. Katy Ruellia, Asiatic jasmine, monkey grass and English
ivy are good water-saving groundcovers for deep shade.