Category Archives: Irrigation

Saguaros

All About Saguaros

Large, columnar-like cacti that reach 40 feet into the air, are just one of 4,000 plant species in Arizona. Dotting a desert landscape for as far as the eye can see, locals often refer to them as desert giants, sentinels of the desert or jolly green giants.

They have been prominently featured in art, cinema, and advertising for years. They are also easily recognizable on several Arizona license plates. This, along with their shape and size, makes them one of the state’s most enduring symbols.

What are they?

They are saguaro cacti, Carnegiea gigantean, pronounced suh-WAR-oh.

While slow-growing – it can take 10 years for a saguaro to reach 1” in height – at full maturity they stand between 40 and 60 feet. Although, according to the National Park Service (NPS), the tallest saguaro ever measured was over 78 feet in height.

These desert giants have lots of character. They can grow up to 25 “arms,” and in the spring and summer produce pure white flowers, which emit a sweet nectar. Multiple species of desert animals feast on its offerings of flowers and fruit.

Additionally, their skin is covered by a waxy coating, hard spines, and flexible bristles. These characteristics help prevent water loss. Under the right conditions, saguaros can live for 200 years.

The most important factors for longevity are moisture and temperature. They cannot survive in areas subject to prolonged freezing, meaning you won’t see them above 4,000 feet above sea level; most of Northern Arizona included.

Some of the best saguaro viewing spots include New River, Mazatzal, and Superstition mountains in the Tonto National Forest. Near Tucson, they can be seen in the Santa Catalina Mountains, part of the Coronado National Forest.

Did you know?

  • The Arizona State flower is the saguaro cactus blossom
  • Saguaros are exclusive to the Sonoran Desert
  • Adult saguaros can weigh 3200-4800 pounds

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Desert Landscape Design Essentials

Desert Landscape Design

Known for its desert climate, with very hot summers and mild winters, Phoenix provides several landscape challenges. Among these challenges are unique soil compositions and extreme temperature fluctuations. Drought-like conditions also provide challenges as residents are required to conserve water.

Luckily, there are many plant species that are either native or well-adapted to the area that – when combined with other materials like river rock, pavers, and earth-colored stucco – can make your dream of an environmentally friendly, eye-catching landscape a reality. For inspiration, visit the Desert Botanical Garden, then contact a professional landscaper in Phoenix who specializes in creating desert landscape designs.

Here are some essentials for designing a desert landscape.

Native Plants

In recent years, native plants have become increasingly popular; valued for their ability to thrive with little water. Native perennials like penstemon, sage, and marigold are known to add pops of color. Succulents such as blue yucca, desert spoon, and agave add regional flare. Native plants are also known to provide food and shelter for the area’s diverse wildlife. Use the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA) website for information on these and other low-water-use plants.

Hardscaping

As you consider essentials for your desert landscape design, keep in mind that you can add tremendous appeal to your front or backyard with hardscaping such as a paved patio, fire pit or sitting area. Other ideas include sculpture gardens, resurfaced driveways, and outdoor kitchens. There is a wide range of materials that can be used for these and other hardscaping projects. It’s a good idea to contact a professional landscaper when considering adding hardscaping to your landscape.

Irrigation

Drip irrigation systems are designed to deliver a consistent amount of water over an extended period. They typically put out water at a leisurely rate of 1/4 to 4 gallons per hour to sufficiently hydrate your plants, trees, and shrubs. Drip irrigation not only helps to ensure the plants survival during dry, hot summers, but its productivity as well. Thanks to today’s technology, some irrigation systems can even be automated, saving time to smell the flowers as they bloom in the spring and early summer.

Gravel

Gravel serves many purposes, from solving drainage issues to lending textural appeal, making it one of the most popular landscape materials with today’s homeowners. It can also be compacted, making it an ideal choice for pathways. The most common types of landscaping gravel are crushed stones, pea gravel, and decomposed granite. River rock is also included in this category. Gravel is available in a variety colors and sizes to complement most any architecture.

Mulch

Mulch provides several benefits, including acting as a soil insulator to keep the roots of plants cool during the summer and warm during the winter, and preventing excess water evaporation. These benefit makes mulch – either organic or inorganic – essential in desert landscape design. Mulch also has weed suppressing properties. It is available in wide range of naturalistic colors. When applying to garden beds, layer three inches deep to ensure sufficient covering.

Summer Lawn Watering Tips

watering tips

Ensuring a healthy, lush, green lawn doesn’t have to waste one of our natural resources if you maintain proper watering techniques. Proper watering, along with fertilizing, and mowing practices can help prevent a host of problems including bald patches, insect infestations, and disease.

Consider the following watering tips when caring for your summer lawn:

Water Once Every 3 Days

The key to watering is to water no more than once every three days. Yes, even during the hottest days of summer. Remember to water for longer periods – the time it takes to move water to a depth of 10 to 12 inches into the soil. You can check the depth by pushing a probe or long screwdriver into the ground. If it goes in easily, no more water is needed. By watering your lawn wisely, you help prevent common problems caused by overwatering, conserve a natural resource and save money on your water bill.

Water at the Right Time

The best time to water your lawn is during the morning hours. Typically, between the hours of 4 and 8 A.M., when the air is still cool. This helps minimize evaporation and prevent the growth of fungus. Avoid watering your lawn in windy weather; it’s a far less efficient use of water as it will evaporate before reaching the roots. Don’t water after it’s rained. The University of Arizona provides a FAQs page with more information on when to water your summer lawn.

Install an In-ground Sprinkler System

For added effectiveness, install an in-ground sprinkler system. Investing in the right sprinkler system has two main benefits – it helps to conserve water and, through automation, can prevent overwatering and/or underwatering. The right system also allows you to customize your watering strategy.

Elite Landscaping and Sprinkler Repair fine-tunes the system to deliver water at specific times of day based on your needs and climate. We also offer affordable sprinkler maintenance and repair services. Contact us today at (602) 390-4645. Our office is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.!

Summer Lawn Watering Guide for Phoenix Residents

summer lawn watering guide

Ensuring a healthy, lush, green lawn doesn’t have to waste one of Earth’s natural resources – water, if you maintain proper watering techniques. Proper watering, along with fertilizing, and mowing practices can help prevent a host of problems including: bald patches, insect infiltration, and disease. Below are some basic guidelines for ensuring your lawn receives just the right amount of water this summer.

How Much Water Does Your Grass Need?

To maintain a lush, healthy lawn, you should completely wet the root zone each time you water. To accomplish this, grass should be watered to a depth of 6 to 10 inches, once every three days during the summer months (June through August). While it may be tempting to water every day, it is not necessary, and is in fact wasteful and expensive. Watering every day can also negatively affect your lawn’s growth.

Here’s a test to determine if more water is needed. Using a ten-inch soil probe, sharpened piece of rebar or a very long screwdriver, try pushing it into the ground one hour after watering. If it goes in easily, no water is needed, whereas water is needed if it won’t penetrate the soil. Water your lawn until you can easily slide the probe to the recommended depth of 6 to 10 inches.

When Should You Water Your Grass?

In the desert, watering in the evenings or early morning hours are the most effective times to water, because wind and evaporation are lower. High winds can distort sprinkler patterns and produce non-uniform irrigation. By watering in the evening or early morning hours, you promote deeper root growth, which ultimately makes your lawn more water efficient.

How Long Should You Water?

Now that you know how much water your lawn needs, and when you should water, it is important to understand the length of time required to get the recommended amount. How long you should water depends upon the output of your sprinkler system. On average according to Water, Use It Wisely, pop-up sprinklers apply 0.4 inches of water and impact sprinklers apply 0.2 inches in 15 minutes.

You can; however, expect to see some variation depending on the conditions. If you notice a big difference – greater than 0.2 inches – then you may want to contact a professional landscape and sprinkler repair expert in order to get more uniform, and as a result more efficient, coverage. To measure your sprinkler systems’ output, follow the steps outlined below.

  • Collect four to eight shallow cans.
  • Spread cans around your lawn, 4-5 inches apart.
  • Turn on entire sprinkler system, and leave on for 15 minutes.
  • Once the sprinklers turn-off, measure the depth of water in each can.
  • Record the numbers on the test can worksheet, found on wateruseitwisely.com, and calculate your sprinkler number according to their directions.

The Importance of Irrigation

irrigation, sprinkler systems

Why Is Irrigation So Important?

Picture what your dinner table might look like if the fruits and vegetables you eat weren’t properly watered.  Imagine if you will, what your yard would like if it were left without water.

Do you see a lush, green lawn where your children like to play?  Or a pale lawn that is barren of life?  Can you serve heaping servings of ripe fruits and leafy vegetables at dinner?

Throughout the state of Arizona, where summer temperatures average 100 degrees, irrigation is the most important use of water there is.  But only after drinking water, of course!

What is the Definition of Irrigation?

Irrigation is the process of artificially applying water to the land or soil in order to assist in the growth of agricultural crops and the maintenance of beautiful landscapes by using minimal amounts of water.

Considering the water is one of the most fragile of all natural resources, and that states such as Arizona and California are currently suffering from drought like conditions, it’s extremely important that we incorporate methods to conserve it for future generations.

One of the best methods any home or land owner can implement in order to do their part in conserving water is to implement an irrigation system.  The most popular, and widely accepted, irrigation systems are as follows:

Ditch Irrigation

– One of the more traditional methods of irrigating, this method requires that seedlings be placed in rows, with canals or furrows running in between them.  Siphon tubes are then used to move the water into the ditches.

Terraced Irrigation

– Designed specifically for steep land, terraced irrigation utilizes man-made steps and retaining walls to move the water to the flat land, where the planting takes place.

Drip Irrigation

– Known to be the most water efficient method of all, drip irrigation works by places drops of water right near the root zone of your plants or crops.  When installed correctly, you can steadily reduce any evaporated water loss.

Sprinkler Systems

– Both overhead and underground sprinkler systems work in the same manner.  When water pressure rises, the sprinkler heads either rise up or turn on, to spray your land with sufficient amounts of water.

Rotary Systems

– Mechanically driven sprinklers that rotate in a circular motion in order to irrigate larger areas, as they can reach distances of up-to 100 feet.  This system requires smaller amounts of water than many of the other options available.

Center Pivot Irrigation

– A self-propelled irrigation system that utilizes a mechanically driven pipeline, whether steel or aluminum, which is suspended on trusses and mounted on wheeled towers to water crops in a circular motion.

These systems carry the additional benefits of saving you time and money as well as increasing the growth and health of your lawn, plants and crops.  For more information on the important of irrigation, please contact Elite Landscaping and Sprinkler Repair.