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Texas AgriLife Extension Service Texas Water Development Board Texas Nursery and Landscape Association Texas AgriLife Extension Service Texas AgriLife Extension Service
A supplement to the Best Management Practices Manual produced by the Texas Water Conservation Task Force.


One of the advantages of Xeriscape (™) or WaterWise landscaping is reduced maintenance compared to the traditional “English” lawn. The reduced time spent in mowing, edging, weeding, and fertilizing was cited by San Antonio Water System customers in 1998 as one of the most attractive reasons to convert their lawns (Brown, 1998). However, even low-water are landscapes require some maintenance. Several maintenance steps are recommended for the water wise landscape and can be encouraged by the utility through education:

  • Pruning of shrubs and trees during winter months to promote blossoms and to remove dead or damaged branches, which could promote disease.
  • Removing dead flowers prior to seed pod development which both promotes more flowers and reduces the potential for self-sown seedlings to over-run the landscape.
  • Aeration of mulched beds and turf areas to ensure that roots are healthy and that anaerobic areas do not develop in mulched beds.
  • Lawn areas need mowing. Mowing should be done frequently enough to remove less than 1/3 of blade area and at the recommended height for each species. (See table?). Turf should not be mowed when wet, and should be fortified based upon species specific recommendations.
  • Integrated pest management involves several steps: Discovering the problem, identifying the cause, monitoring the landscape and managing the problem including using pest-resistant plants and spraying insects with organic pesticides, such as orange oil or BT bacteria and only as a last resort using chemical pesticides or herbicides. 14

"One of the advantages of Water Wise landscaping is reduced maintenance..."

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14 Call, C., What is Xeriscape, Colorado Water Wise Council, www.xeriscape.org/maintainarticle.html.