In Southern California it is important to remember that water conservation is key. As droughts rage on, cities pass stricter ordinances on water usage. Instead of allowing your lawns to go brown, or continuing to water grass despite the water restrictions, the Ameal Moore Nature Center at Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park has another suggestion: native plants!
Many people ask what they can do to their lawns with the water restrictions. There are of course, various answers to this dry dilemma. You could:
- Use lava rocks in the yard in place of grass
- Replace your living grass with artificial grass
- Leave your lawn as a dirt lot
Or, if those options are not to your liking, you could consider filling your lawn with native plants. Native plants are perfect for homeowners concerned with water conservation. As they are a part of the surrounding ecosystem, they are perfectly suited for the dry climate that Southern California is famous for. They do not require more than the usual amount of rainfall, have their own defenses against pests, require less maintenance compared to non-natives, and they can look great and come in a variety of colors!
There are many reasons to consider the switch from non-natives to natives:
- Native plants are low maintenance
- Native plants require less chemicals or pesticides (they have natural defenses against local threats)
- You will have lower water bills
- You will be conserving water
- You will not have to be concerned about brown lawns during restricted water use months
If you are unsure of what natives to plant, check with your local nursery for information and suggestions. There are also nurseries that only carry native plant species. You can check online to see if they are in your neighborhood. Nurseries should be able to tell you what specific plants are best for your area.
For additional information, you can check out some of these sources:
- California Native Plant Society (CNPS)
- Riverside/San Bernardino Chapter, CNPS
- California Oak Foundation
- Be Water Wise: So Cal Water Agencies
- USDA Plants
- Tree Selection Guide for California
Sources: United States. Riverside-Corona Conservation District. Wild About Natives. n.d. Print.