5 Beautiful Southern California Drought Tolerant Grasses

These five, beautiful Southern California lawn alternatives will save you water

Replacing your existing lawn with a drought tolerant alternative is an increasingly popular and effective way to cut down on water usage. Lawns can be more than just nice, relaxing place to enjoy a cup of tea, host a party, or play with our kids. They can also help contribute to reduced water, fertilizer and pesticide needs, while helping capture atmospheric carbon and store it in the soil!

What you choose to do with your yard can have a positive effect on your community, your planet and the plants and animals you share it with.

Before replacing your lawn, take a moment to consider what lawn alternatives are best for you and your family. While gravel and artificial turf replacements are great for decreasing water usage in theory, they fail to keep the soil fertile and living which means less water is allowed to infiltrate the soil and replenish aquifers. Many native, low water plant options benefit the...

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10 Wonderful Drought Tolerant Plants for San Diego Landscapes

With its beautiful weather, the San Diego area is ripe for beautiful drought tolerant landscape designs.

Characteristics of Drought Tolerant Plants

San Diego County's biome is California Chaparral. From mini-mountainous peaks and down eleven west-ward draining watersheds, our county boasts of micro-climates and plant groupings with unique characteristics. Some micro-climates you may encounter or live in are: Oak Savanna, Sycamore and Willow Riparian Corridors, Chaparral, Coastal Sage, Mountains, and Desert.

Depending on where your home or land is sited within these micro-climates will determine which varieties will thrive best. Adaptive traits drought tolerant plants sometimes exhibit are: waxy or glossy leaves, water storing leaves or tissues, serrated leaf margins, silver or light reflecting color, and the ability to solar track or reduce UV overexposure.

Explore the Water Conservation Garden near Cuyamaca College to see an excellent exhibit showcasing water wise and drought...

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A Transitional Strategy Out of Avocados and Citrus

agriculture plants Jan 07, 2016

Avocados and Citrus have long been mainstays of the agricultural economy here in San Diego County. With the California drought stretching into its fifth year (this El Niño looks to finally release us of that stretch, thankfully), many of the farmers that rely on these crops for their main cash flow are struggling. Farms are removing and stumping thousand of acres of avocados and oranges all over the county. While they grow well here with adequate water and fertilizer, maybe Avocados and Citrus were not the best crops to plant in San Diego in the first place. Our Mediterranean-style climate, with it's cyclical drought cycles, has challenged anyone making their living or subsisting from the land in Southern California.

History of Avocados in San Diego

“The first avocado trees were brought to the state in 1871”, according to Jack Shepard, who worked in the business 44 years and is a past president of Calavo California Avocado co-op, the state's largest avocado...

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When to Plant and Why

landscaping plants Aug 16, 2015

“Best time to plant everything!”

Everything...? Not really.

I recently noticed the above headline from a circular in the local paper. My first thought was, “Not really!

Let’s recount, very briefly, the climate that we live in here in San Diego County.

First off, it’s considered a Mediterranean climate. Right away that means wet, relatively mild winters, and dry hot summers. As a general rule. With that said, reflect back on the last, say, two years in SD county. Winter hasn’t been very wet; we’ve been coming out of winter with somewhere around four less inches than “normal”. We’ve also had some higher than normal summer temps. In Valley Center, it was holding around 109 degrees for two weeks. That’s noticeable when you’re working and sweating in it. We, as a state, are actively reminded that we are in severe drought conditions. So much so that, finally, the state is going to do what it should have been...

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Turf Removal, Done Right

Turf Terminators, an LA-based landscaping company, has garnered much acclaim for creating a business model built on rebates and the drought.

"You can tell which are the Turf Terminator homes — it's just gravel and a little bush. It's just a bad business. They're just ripping off customers." Lorena Gonzalez, South LA

Shouting, "FREE LANDSCAPE!", Turf Terminators heads to your home to rip out your old lawn, tie in some new irrigation, pop in a cookie-cutter plant palette, throw down some rock, and collect your rebate. All you have to spend is your time. Sounds great, but nothing in life is "free." Something has to give, and unfortunately, it's quality (seems to be recurring theme in our recent culture's history, ahem, planned obsolescence). Yes, you'll get free turf removal, save precious water*, and have a new landscape. You'll also get a wonderful heat island effect from all that rock, grasses that immediately creep back in, potentially lots of FREE! poisons sprayed on your...

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