Pruning Sub-Shrubs in the Water-Wise Landscape

Oregon – A Guide to Lavender: Pruning (harvesting) Lavender. YouTube
Correctly pruned lavender creates an attractive mounded shape in the landscape.
Photo credit: Dave Catchpole Flickr CC-BY
Arizona – Pruning a Russian Sage to promote the best spring growth. YouTube
Russian sage plant flowering
Photo source:luvlymikimoto Flickr CC BY-NC-SA

Popular water-wise sub-shrubs include Russian sage, Blue mist spirea, and …

Basics of Organic Landscape Maintenance

Basics of Organic Landscape Maintenance

          no dogs allowed sign

Photo source:

Many people are interested in reducing or eliminating pesticides and inorganic fertilizers in the landscape because of concerns about water quality and potential toxic threats to humans, pets, bees, birds, and other wildlife.

One way to achieve this is by using organic landscape maintenance. Organic maintenance practices include the elimination of toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and reducing the amount of water used in the landscape. Note that improper use of …

Myth of a No Maintenance Landscape

The myth of a no maintenance landscape seems to persist in many places. Any landscape altered by humans will probably need some sort of maintenance. Aggressive weeds will definitely need some attention.

An unmaintained lawn can be a fire hazard and can cause weeds to migrate to neighboring yards. No one wants a ticked off neighbor!

Tips to Keeping a Landscape as Low Maintenance as Possible

  • Keep the design simple
  • Minimize turf area
  • Create naturalized areas using trees and shrub

Types of Lawnmowers


Robot lawn mowers. Photo credit: HOON Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0


Typical riding mower with grass clipping bag attachment. Photo credit: tyle_r Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

A variety of mowing system choices are widely available for maintaining turf areas. Below is a brief synopsis of different types of the mowers with their pros and cons.  Costs vary depending on size and power of mower. 

Type of Lawnmowers:



  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Multi-use (wool, milk, meat)
  • Potential for profit                         


  • Expense
  • Winter

Mowing Turfgrass to be Water-Wise

Mowing height can contribute significantly to the health of the lawn. Correct mowing height can also reduce the amount of water used by turf during the hot summer months. 

By increasing mowing height, grass roots grow deeper into the soil allowing them to survive longer without water.  

Higher mowing heights also help control annual weeds in the lawn by decreasing light needed for weed seed germination.

Mowing Tips for Water-Wise Turfgrass

  • Mow turf height to about 3 inches
  • Remove only

Methods of Weed Control in Water Conserving Landscapes



Limiting weeds through controlled irrigation.
Photo source:Joby Elliott Flickr CC BY 2.0

  Weed barrier fabric placed around shrubs
Photo credit: Beachbums3 Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Nothing sucks the fun out of gardening quite like weeds.  They can be persistent, hard to kill, and may even have thorns or toxic properties.

What else can be said for something that stands between you and your hammock on a quiet summer Saturday? 

Fighting them is hard work and often discouraging, especially when …