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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Save Water by Going Native!

Water is a precious resource, especially in Southern California where the annual average of rainfall is much lower than in other parts of the country. At times this can mean water shortages and drastic cut backs as our population is large and our potential to use water is great due to our dry climate.

There are certainly many ways to conserve water usage, but one that is not often talked about is the use of native plants. Not only are plants that are native to our region beautiful, perhaps more importantly they are adaptable and accustomed to our dry climate.

Images of green lawns are typically what come to mind when we think about perfect residential landscapes. However, most of the green grasses that we use for our lawns are not native to Los Angeles, nor are they green. In fact, many of them use a lot of water.

That’s why native plants may be a great option if you are seeking to reduce your water usage, which in turn will help reduce runoff from your lawns. The less water you use in your yard, the less likely it is to run off into our storm drain system. Native plants, unlike regular lawns, use far less water, and are typically able to survive droughts and promote an aesthetic that is beautiful yet sustainable.

One other cool thing about native plants is that there are many types to choose from. Most also live a long time, so your initial investment will surely pay off. In fact, the Theodore Payne Foundation, which promotes the use of native plants throughout Southern California, organizes tours that may help entice you to go native! They hold several inspiring tours in different spots around Los Angeles where you can learn more about the wonders of native plants.

For a listing of the 7th Annual Native Garden Tours that will be held this Saturday and Sunday, please visit: http://www.theodorepayne.org/Tour/.


Keith Malone said...

Native plants not only use less water and provide habitat for birds, hummingbirds and butterflies, among other wildlife, they don't require pesticides or fertilizers. That helps improve water quality.

LA Stormwater Program said...

Great point, Keith! When pesticides and fertilizers end up in the storm drain (and eventually find their way to the ocean) that can be a serious detriment to water quality. Integrated pest management (IPM) provides ways to maintain a healthy garden naturally. More info is available on this site: http://www.ourwaterourworld.org/