CVWD Water Tip: Landscape Advice

Desert gardeners may puzzle over water restrictions due to drought. Here is advice from the University of California Center for Landscape & Urban Horticulture.

Easy Ways To Save Water in a Landscape

  • Check irrigation systems regularly for leaks as well as other problems that reduce sprinkler, spray head, or drip emitter functions.
  • Walk through an area when the irrigation system is running and repair or replace sprinklers or emitters that are broken, sunken, crooked, or clogged with soil or debris.
  • Make sure plants are not blocking or interfering with a sprinkler’s spray pattern and the roots are not clogging drip emitters.

Priorities To Save Landscape Plants

Stop watering low-priority plant beds and lawn areas. Instead, water plantings that are more valuable like trees and shrubs. Lawns and bedding plants can be re-established quickly and inexpensively. Trees and shrubs need years to mature and are less easily replaced. Under-watered fruit trees will produce less if any fruit, but will survive.

Limit pruning of trees and shrubs to removing dead or damaged branches and trim hedges less frequently.

Best Time of Day To Irrigate

Irrigating during the very early morning hours between 12:00 am and 6:00 am is best with spray or overhead irrigation systems. Evaporation is lower and usually there is little or no wind to disrupt the pattern of sprinklers during these hours.

Drip irrigation can be scheduled any time of the day since evaporation is not a concern. Nighttime watering in California does not usually cause more plant disease because the humidity is relatively low.

Replace Water-needy Plants With Low-water Users in the Fall

To find low-water use plants that are suitable for low desert areas, check University of California Agriculture and Natural Resource’s online Water Use Classification of Landscape Species at

Click the Plant Search Database tab, enter the name of the city, then choose the desired type of plants (shrubs, perennials, trees, etc.), and the preferred water category (low, moderate). The application will give a list of plants suitable to grow in a location that fits the specified criteria.

For More Help

Lush and Efficient: Desert-Friendly Landscaping in the Coachella Valley lists more than 300 plants with over 800 photos. You can search by several dozen categories. The 160-page book is available for free at any CVWD office, or as a PDF download here: Download Free PDF Book

Coachella Valley Water District is a public agency governed by a five-member board of directors. The district provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional stormwater protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 108,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.