Friday, October 17, 2008

Regional gardening

Energy efficient gardening tips for your region.
No matter where you live, we are looking to cut our heating and cooling cost. One place to look is in your own garden. Be it wind, sun,or snow, we all have different needs in all seasons. Here are a few tips that can help cut your energy costs.

Let's start in the northeast and midwest.
In the summer you want to help keep it cool, so plant your deciduous trees on the west and south sides of your home for shade. When the leaves are gone in the winter this allows the suns rays to help warm your home. Add a windbreak of shrubs or trees on the north and northwest to keep the winds from cooling your home in winter.

Moving to the plains and mountains in the west:
In the summer again we want deciduous trees for the shade in the hot sun on the sunny side of the house. Plant your windbreaks on the north and northwest sides, if you can, to help keep those high winds at bay. We want to use as much of the suns radiant heat as possible, so make sure your trees on the west and south are deciduous.

Pacific northwest:
You have lots of cloud cover in the winter, so again you will plant deciduous trees on the south, west and southwest sides of your home to make best use of the suns radiant heat. They will also cool your home in the summer months.

Southern California:
Plant windbreaks around your home to deflect the warm summer breezes and plant shade trees on the west and south sides to cool in the summer.

Summers are HOT, so again plant your shade trees on your sunniest sides of your home. Here it may need to be on the east, south and west sides, because it doesn't take too long for the sun to start it's heating early in the day. Also plant wind blocks to keep the warm winds off your home.

A perfect place for some xeriscape gardening to keep the humidity down. So plant drought tolerent plants near your home. Plant evergreens trees on the south and west sides of your homes to help cool. Here you want some breezes, so plant your shrubs and fences to help direct them to your home to help cool it.

Why xeriscape landscaping

Are you looking to save on your water bills? Start outside in the garden. Xeriscaping is a great alternative to our traditional methods.
What is xeriscaping? It's creating a low water garden and landscape. Using native plants and trees that are adapted to your climate and weather patterns.
It doesn't matter what part of the country you live in, you can implement this in your landscaping. If you live in the desert southwest, you may want to plant cactus, yuccas, penstemons and other plants that thrive in dry areas. Check with your local nurseries for suggestions. This also includes trees, bushes and grasses, plant water wise trees and lawns.
If you have a traditional garden and are deciding to shift to xeriscape, consider the trees you already have. Many people will tend to forget that changing over can put a strain on your existing trees. They may have had a lawn that used a fair amount of water before that the trees loved and needed, but now they have changed to a lawn with very little water needs, or no lawn at all. Perhaps to a rock landscape. You can still give your tree the water it needs by drip irrigation or just giving it a good soak once or twice amonth depending on your climate. Again check with your nurseryman.
Before you start, plan your garden and do some research. Organize your plants according to their water needs. Group plants with a higher water needs close to your home and water source. then plants with less water needs you will plant farther away. This way you don't have plants that are drought tolerent mixed in with plants that will suffer in the heat. this is called hydrozoning.
Don't forget the all important mulch. Mulch locks in moisture in the soil and helps to cool the plants depending on the mulch you use. It also helps to deter the dreaded weeds. So you can save time, and your back, by controling the weeding you need to do.
After you have planned, planted and mulched don't forget that just because these are water wise plants, you will still need to water them the first season to let them get established.
Have fun and enjoy the color and beauty of your new garden