Tips for drought-proofing your garden:

  1. Get your winter cleanup and pruning done as early as possible this year, as new spring growth is likely to start ahead of schedule. Pruning after growth starts will further stress the plants.
  2. Prune roses and other garden shrubs and perennials more lightly than usual. With lower soil moisture due to drought, plants will not grow or bounce back as easily from heavy pruning.
  3. Judiciously deep water during dry winter months to help build soil moisture reserve needed when the weather warms.
  4. Deep water by slow soaking the root zone directly below plants, instead of sprinkling the leaves and top of the soil. Try saving water at any time of year by watering established plants less often, but more deeply.
  5. Apply compost or bark chip mulch 2-4” deep around trees and in planting areas to help hold in soil moisture.
  6. Remove weeds growing near desirable plants to reduce competition for scarce water.
  7. Remember, of all garden plants, lawns typically require the most water and are relatively easy to replace. Consider reducing water applied to your lawn first and redirecting more of your water allowance to trees, shrubs, and perennials.
  8. Established gardens are often more drought-resistant than you might expect. Try reducing watering in incremental steps and then apply additional water only when you see signs of wilting on a hot day.
  9. Lastly, avoid extensive new plantings during times of drought, as even “drought-tolerant” plants need regular watering for the first couple of years until they are established.
  10. Have a qualified irrigation professional check your watering system for efficiency and needed upgrades.