North Central Texas Smartscape
Texas SmartScape™ utilizes xeriscape principles, but goes beyond the basics by providing design, care, and plant search tools that are "Smart" for North Central Texas. Learn more...
This Program Will Show You How To
Conserve water and save $Money$ on your water bills; beautify your home and local environment; attract native butterflies, hummingbirds and other wildlife; and prevent / help reduce storm water pollution!
SmartScape in the Winter
Happy 2015! The year has just started and we have lots of exciting things planned for Texas SmartScape. Our plant fairs went so well last year that we will be adding more locations this year! Be sure to check back often for updates on the plant sales and other upcoming events around North Central Texas.
Winter is here, and with that comes freezing temperatures. When it gets down to those freezing temperatures, it is important to make sure your plants and pipes are protected. Get faucet protectors to keep your outside faucets from freezing and breaking. Remember to winterize your irrigation system by removing the water from the system (there is usually a relief valve that will allow you to do this) and turning the system off until spring. If you practiced deep, infrequent watering throughout the summer, then the rainfall through the winter will be plenty to keep your plants alive.
If it is going to be a hard freeze (when it drops below 32 degrees and remains there for several hours), water perennials, shrubs, and trees deeply just before. This watering will help protect the roots, which may be exposed to cold air pockets in the soil and will help prevent plant tissue dehydration from the cold, dry winds.
Check out our plant database for evergreen shrubs that can help add some color to your yard throughout the winter months.
Why Proper Watering and Fertilizer Use is Important to our Environment
Freddy the Fish teaches kids about what happens to rain after it hits the ground, where storm drains lead to, and what we can do to help prevent water pollution. While this video may be intended for younger children, we could all learn a thing or two from Freddy the Fish.
When you use fertilizer or pesticides, the chemicals that are not absorbed into the ground get carried off of your property the next time it rains (or when your irrigation is watering past the point of runoff). These chemicals, bacteria-filled pet waste, and other things like grass clippings get carried down the street, into a storm drain, and into the nearest stream, river, and eventually lake - which is where our water supply comes from. Decomposing grass clippings alter the oxygen levels in the water, which makes it difficult - sometimes even impossible - for fish and other wildlife to survive.
Being careful to not overwater your landscaping has numerous benefits: the obvious benefits of saving water, saving money, and promoting a healthy root system, and the less obvious benefit of preventing pollution from getting into our streams and lakes. With the winter weather here, you should only need to water your grass if the soil is dry on the top six inches. A good layer of mulch and hand watering your plants before a cold snap will also help protect the roots from the cold and give the plants the opportunity to replace the moisture pulled from them by the dry wind. When watering, keep it on the lawn and take note from Freddy the Fish, “Only rain down the storm drain.”
Stop Wasting Money, The Street Will Never Grow!
We are officially in the fall season. The temperatures have come down to a more pleasant level and that means that your lawn no longer needs as heavy a watering schedule as it did through the summer. In the midst of our busy lives, many times people forget that they need to adjust their automatic sprinklers with the season. If you are watering the same now as you were in July, you are wasting our limited water supply and your hard earned money by sending it down the street.
As temperatures drop and days become shorter, plant growth slows down as well. Slower plant growth means they require less water. Evaporation rates are also much lower, which means the soil retains moisture longer. These factors combined with the fact that we typically see a little more rain in the fall mean you should reduce the time and frequency of your watering. Throughout the fall, you should reduce your watering by about half. Keep an eye on your lawn and make sure you aren’t watering to the point of water running off your lawn into the street. If the top four inches of your soil is damp, you don’t need to water. Remember, plant roots need time to breathe between waterings - keeping the soil too wet all the time opens the door to disease.
For more information, check out our Watering & Conservation Guide, or our Guide to Watering Methods. Also, if you would like some fall color, check out our plant database and set the blooming field to “fall.” On the details page for each plant is the Plant Timeline that shows how long and when the plant is in bloom.
Use this search tool to identify which plants will work for you.
- FREE SmartScape Training Classes: View all events.
- WANTED- SmartScape plant photos. Our plant database can now support multiple images of each plant. Submit plant photos to email@example.com.
- List of SmartScape-friendly companies.
- Nurseries/landscape companies: Partnership opportunities. [pdf]
- We want to know if you've attempted to use SmartScape ideas and techniques in your yard! Share your SmartScape.
- Interested in helping us expand Texas SmartScape to other regions in Texas? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.