Water Conservation in the Home Orchard

Practicing water conservation isn’t just for the ornamental landscaper; commercial as well as home orchards can also be water wise and water efficient.

Ways to Conserve Water in Orchards

  • Perform a distribution uniformity test of your irrigation system
  • A distribution uniformity between 90-100% is considered a uniform system; this ensures that plants are watered evenly and more efficiently
  • This also helps avoid excess water application and runoff
  • Perform regular maintenance
  • Check for line breaks
  • Check for plugged emitters
  • Clean filters

Herbs for the Pollinator Garden: Greek Oregano (Origanum vulgare var. hirtum)


Plant family

        
 

Bee feasting on oregano flowers
Photo credit: Tracy_dw Flickr CC BY-NC-2.0

 
  Mature Oregano plant
Photo credit: Joi Ito Flickr CC BY 2.0

Mint Family (Lamiaceae / Labiaceae)

 

Common Names

(European) Oregano
Greek oregano
Turkish oregano

 

Description

Greek oregano is one of many perennial herb species in the genus Oreganum native to the Mediterranean region. It tends to get woody over time.

This mid-summer blooming plant loves full sun, hot temperatures, and well drained dry soil. It grows up …

Plants for Water Wise Pollinator Gardens: Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)


Plant family

         
  A collage of different Nasturtium flower colors. Photo credit: Robyn Jay Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
 
 

Trailing nasturtiums in a large outdoor pot
Photo credit: Susan Buffler

Nasturtium (Tropaeolaceae)

 

Common Names

Nasturtium

 

Description

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) is an annual plant native to higher elevations of Mexico and western South America. A distinctive feature is its long spur where nectar is concentrated.

Plants can be upright or trailing and grow to about 15 to 16 inches high and …

Plants for Water Wise Pollinator Gardens: Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)


        
 

Bee feeding on rosemary flower
Photo credit: Automania Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

 
 

Mature Rosemary shrub
Photo credit: cliff1066  Flickr CC BY 2.0

Plant Family

Mint Family (Labiatae / Lamiaceae)

 

Common Names

Rosemary
Rose of Mary
Anthos

Description

Rosemary is a drought tolerant aromatic evergreen herb native to the Mediterranean region. It is also grown as a perennial landscape plant in areas where winter temperatures seldom dip below zero.  

Plant as a perennial in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 through 9 …

Plants for Water-Wise Pollinator Gardens: Parsley (Petroselinium species)


Plant Family

         

 

Black swallowtail butterfly larvae feeding on curly leaf parsley
Photo credit: Marc Dufour Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

 

 

Carrot or Parsley Family (Apiaceae / Umbelliferae)

 

Common Names

Parsley
 

Description

  • Biennial herb native to the Mediterranean region of Europe
  • First year plants are leafy and grow to about 1 to 2 feet tall
  • Second year flower stalk can reach 3 feet in height
  • Umbel type greenish white flowers bloom in early summer
  • The two most popular types

Plants for Water-Wise Pollinator Gardens: Dill (Anethum graveolens)


Plant Family

         

 

Young Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar feeding on a dill flower
Photo credit: CameliaTWU Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

 

 

Feathery dill leaves
Photo credit: kimll Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Carrot or Parsley Family (Apiaceae formerly Umbelliferae)
 

Common Names

Dill weed

Description

Dill is an annual herb native to the Mediterranean region. Dill has a distinct smell and flavor. The seeds and leaves are used for flavoring a variety of dishes and the seed heads are often used as …

Plants for Water-Wise Pollinator Gardens: Cilantro / Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)


Plant Family

        

 

Syrphid fly feeding on coriander (cilantro) flower
Photo source: Mumm’s Musings blog

 

 

Freshly picked cilantro leaves
Photo credit: Michelle Dyer Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Carrot or Parsley Family Apiaceae formerly Umbelliferae

 

Common Names

Coriander, Cilantro, Chinese parsley

Description

  • Annual herb native to the Mediterranean rim countries
  • Used extensively in Mexican, Caribbean, and Asian cuisine
  • Umbel shaped flower heads grow to 3 feet tall and about 8 inches
  • Bloom in summer
  • Seeds are referred to as coriander and leaves

Plants for Water-Wise Pollinator Gardens: Borage (Borago officianalis)


Plant Family

         

 

A bee gathers nectar from a borage flower
Photo credit: RC Designer Flickr CC BY 2.0

 

 

Cluster of blue and purple borage flowers
Photo credit: Rachel James Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Borage Family (Boraginaceae)

 

Common Names

Borage, Burrage, Common bugloss


Description

  • Annual herb native to the Middle East
  • Fast growing
  • Prolific re-seeder but can be easily hand weeded
  • Grows to 2 to 3 feet tall and 18 inches wide
  • Hollow stems tend to break if plants

Plants for Water Wise Pollinator Gardens: Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

Plant Family

Mint Family (Lamiaceae / Labiatae)

Common Names

Russian sage

Description

  • Popular sub-shrub native to western and northern Asia and Russia
  • Grows to about 3 to 5 feet tall and wide but is also available in dwarf cultivars
  • Silvery gray leaves and tall spikes of attractive blue flowers that bloom from mid to late summer through fall
  • Grows well on dry well-drained soils with no fertilizer
  • Does best in full sun
  • Tends to flop over with too

Plants for Water Wise Pollinator Gardens: Blue Mist Spirea (Caryopteris x clandonensis)

Plant Family

Verbena Family (Verbenaceae)

Common Names

Bluebeard, Common bluebeard, Blue mist shrub, Blue spirea

Description

  • Blue mist spirea is a small twiggy shrub native to Asia
  • A number of cultivars are available in the nursery trade.
  • This shrub can range from 24 to about 48 inches tall and wide
  • Clusters of blue tubular flowers bloom from late summer through fall
  • Does best in well drained dry soils with little to no fertilizer
  • Requires full sun for optimal