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Bare Soil: When You Can't Plant Because of Watering Restrictions

By Carl Wilson, Colorado State Cooperative Extension, Horticulturist, Denver County

Bare soil requires attention to prevent the undesirable environmental consequences that can come with wind and water erosion. Consider the other steps of Xeriscape, water wise gardening, except the planting step. You can obtain a well-thought-throughhydromulch (2643 bytes) landscape plan from a landscape professional. Consider alternatives to turf like building a deck or installing a patio. Prepare your soil by amending with organic material such as compost or sphagnum peat. Install your drip or underground irrigation system. Mulch your future shrub and perennial beds. Consider hydromulching (hydroseeding without the seed) your future lawn. Hydromulch is often used by revegetation experts to plant ski slopes and highway hillsides. The hydromulch will hold the soil in place until water is again available to allow seeding or sodding. And, of course, delay planting until water is available.

Note that newly seeded or sodded lawns require light watering as much as three to four times per day to get started. This is true whether you are planting bluegrass or low water-using buffalograss. Sod requires a minimum of 3 weeks to establish and seeded lawns a minimum of 5 weeks. Starting new lawns is not for those in or anticipating water restrictions unless special permitting will allow multiple daily waterings.

Photos: Judy Sedbrook

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010