watering schedule-pics of plants

pandorathecat(zone 9a NV)March 21, 2007

I have desert landscaping consisting of rocks and plants. I don't know what type of plants I have. I took pics and plan to go to my local nursery to find out what they are. Each plant has its own *sprinkler head* in that each head slowly drips out water. It's not the type of sprinkler system that is used for grass lawns.

Some of the plants have died and need to be replaced. Before I replace them I want to make sure that I am watering correctly. I believe that all of the plants are drought resistent and suitable for the desert.

My current watering schedule is M-W-F starting at 8am for 15 minutes for the first station (back of the house) and another 15 minutes for the second station (front of the house). It was set by the person who adjusted my sprinkler system. I didn't ask him any questions about the watering because his English wasn't too good. I was wondering what watering schedules other people with similiar landscaping have. What do you think of my schedule?

I took pics of one of each type. From the pictures, it seems that my lot looks rather sparse but there are many more plants.

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Hello ..

First .. the Mexican fan palm is most likely cold stressed not water related .. many Mexican fan palms around town including my own look that way this year .. we had a bit of a cold snap. Most likely the plant will be fine.

Instead of asking for a watering schedule you would be much better off simply running your system and probing into the root area to see when you have watered the root zone completely .. a bit extra is also a good idea to wash out salts ( about 10 % ). This is your run time.

I have really no idea what type of system you have or how it was designed so it makes little sense to suggest how to water ... the key to watering .. water deep enough to wet all the roots and a bit extra to wash out salts .. use the same run time each time you water .. the frequency of watering or how often is much more weather and plant dependent ... water when your soil is almost dry to touch or slightly moist .. this should work well for the plants in your picture but learn to watch the plants as they will show signs of when they need to be watered.

It's hard to tell from your pics and my aging eyes but looks like :

Leucuphylum ( Texas Sage )

Washingtonia robusta ( Mexican Fan Palm )

Desert Spoon


I'm guessing Rosemary ?? Can't see it well.

Ligustrum ( Wax leaf privet )
More privets... these are mesophytes and will need about 2 days more water then the other plants ... not a good choice for your type of landscape.

Leucophylum ( Texas sage ).. it's normal to loose some leaves in winter and they don't like wet soils in particular during winter.

Can't tell from the pic Jasmine ???

Pittosporum ( dwarf mock orange ) also needs more water a mesophyte like privet not a xerophyte.

Pineapple Guave ... give some extra water.

The last tree is interesting .. can't tell what it is from the pic but it either got blasted from the cold or is very dry. Sorry just can't see it. Close ups ?

Good Day ...

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 8:43PM
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I think mohave kid gave you some good advise. My palm looks like yours (from the cold blast we got in winter) but the middle is coming up green...so it's ok. I am planning on cutting off the dead fronds. I have drip system on all of my plants (in the ground and in containers). We just added another day to the watering schdeule (2x a week now @ 5 minutes a day)since we are warming up.
I would ask the nursery if there was someone who could come out to your house and check the sprinkler system out & explain to you what plants you have for you. I am sure they would know someone who does this (for a price) but it would be worth it to find out what you have,etc...

Good Luck!!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 11:45AM
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Those look like good guesses to me mohave kid. It would be a lot easier to tell if the pictures were close up shots of the plants.

The watering schedule doesn't sound right to me. While it is still cooler established drought tolerant plants can do with watering once a week but for at least an hour at a time not fifteen minutes that way you encourage deep roots instead of surface roots. I like to poke a stick in the soil after watering to see how deep the watering went - if it goes in easily it's wet and where it gets hard it is dry.

This mixing of plant types, more xeric type plants like the leucophylums(Texas Rangers), Dasylirion wheeleri (desert spoon) and Salvia Greggi(Autumn sage) with plants like pittosporum, jasmine and ligustrum (privet) never quite looks right. Plants that would never grow together because of different cultural requirements just look strange IMHO when planted together in landscape settings. Also when you have them on the same drip irrigation system you either overwater the xeric ones or underwater the higher water use plants.

At the CCSN nursery, across from the Library in front of the college campus on West Charleston they are going to have spring in the desert on Sat. March 31. They always have good helpful people there and will have a lot of great and beautiful desert plants there that would look wonderful in your yard and thrive here in our tough conditions.

Good luck with your garden, Maria

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 11:57AM
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pandorathecat(zone 9a NV)

Thank you so much everyone. A little background info. Im renting a house, never previously lived in, so I couldn't ask any previous resident for advice. The owner lives out of state. As for the plants and landscaping, the front and sides were done by the builder. I assumed the plants were carefully thought out. Obviously thatÂs not the case. lol!

Since the plants arenÂt mine, I will probably have to make do with what I have. It's too bad. I would very much like to follow everyone's advice and stick to one type, xeric or mesophytes. I eventually plan to buy a new house in one year. I want the plants looking good when I leave.

There are 6 trees and 69 plants. Two of the trees appear dead. Six plants are dead. And there are 3 empty spots where plants were previously. I have to touch base with the owner to see what he wants. I will go the nursey and get help in picking out more appropriate plants, waterwise and aethetically pleasing for my new house. It's never to early to start planning. Also, I could get enough info so that I can offer suggestions to the owner.

Mohave kid,
Thank you for taking the time out in identifying the plants.

Thanks. I will do that. I also have the drip irrigation system.

Maria, thatÂs a great idea about the stick. Also, I'm going to try to make it to the CCSN spring in the desert event. Thanks for the info.

I have some questions. How long should I follow the deep watering schedule? Do I follow this, letÂs say, for a month? How long and often should I water when temps get consistently around 90 degrees and above? What time in the morning should I start? Is 8am too late in the a.m? Should I start earlier in the morning as the temps get hotter, let say at 5am? Is it possible to overwater zeric type plants? I assumed that due to the dry and hot weather, it is impossible to overwater due to evaporation.

In my next garden in my new house, should I stick to xeric type plants only, due to water conservation, and if I get rock landscaping? Or does it matter if the landscaping is grass or rocks? My water bill is not a concern for me, but I wouldn't mind conserving water out of a sense of duty.

I took some more pictures, hopefully better. Doubleclick on them to get closeups. Some of the pics might be duplicates of the same type of plant. The plants below are the same as the ones I took before, only not in the same order. It was only after I took the pics and loaded them onto photobucket etc, did I realize I should've taken them in the same order. The ones with question marks are the ones I'm not sure of even though I tried to match up mohave kid's very helpful identification in the old pics with the new pics.
This one is a healthy tree.

Texas Sage?

Here are some dead Washiongton robusta (Mexican Fan palms):


Desert Spoon


Not sure-Ligustrum (Wax Leaf privet?)

Not sure

Mexican Fan palm

Not sure

Texas sage?

Ligustrum-Wax Leaf privet?

Ignore this one below this text, it's a weed since pulled out.

Not sure

Pineapple Guave?


This one is dead. I don't know what it was.

Mexican Palm

Mexican Palm

This tree is a goner. I scraped the bark of the tree and there was nothing green underneath.

This tree is the same one as above. I have two of them.

dead plant

Mexican fan palm

healthy tree-don't know what species.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 6:39PM
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I think you have most of the plants identified correctly. Is the first tree pictured evergreen? If it is the leaf form looks right for a Southern live oak, Quercus virginiana. Your second plant does look like a texas ranger (leucophyllum). Rosemary is correct as is desert spoon and Salvia Greggi. Your next ligustrum ? looks to compact and I would suspect a euonymus which stay smaller than the privet.

The next one you don't know is an indian hawthorne (rhaphiolepis). You can see this is not a happy plant by the burnt leaves. They don't like full sun in gravel positions, although drought tolerant this is not a real desert lover.

The next plant is a fan palm and the one after that the you don't know is probably another texas ranger. However the one you have labeled texas sage is definately not but is probably either a privit or a jasmine. the next one you question as a privit is most likely a jasmine.

Your not sure of after the weed is chlorotic. That is not a kind of plant but a plant that isn't getting enough iron from our alkaline soils and so it has yellow leaves with green veins. Maybe it is a compact pyracantha as they get this in our soils. I think the rest are correct.

Your healthy tree has leaves that look like an african sumac (Rhus lancea) but they have reddish trunks and yours looks grey.

I bet if you go to a star nursery you will be able to find and identify most of your plants pretty easily.

Happy gardening, Maria

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 11:17AM
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pandorathecat(zone 9a NV)

Thanks so much Maria. Everyone's advice has been very helpful.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 6:53PM
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I am residing in Las Vegas and my landscapers put in African Sumac bushes last week to the suggestion of Star Nursery (landscapers wanted to originally plant other plants) Two of them already start to dry out on their branches. Bushes planted on the western wall (facing Mt. Charleston, I live in the NW) are doing great, the others (facing North) are doing ok but two started to dry out. We followed the watering suggestion (three times a week until established, then once a week) but want to know if we are watering incorrectly or if we might have Texas Root Rot (how could we tell?)which is very aggressive with African sumacs (if only I would have known) Star Nursery hasn't called us back. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 11:52AM
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I can't imagine once a week watering in our cool spring temperatures as being insufficient so long as you are completely wetting the root zone. You didn't mention how you are watering but when you water it needs to penetrate down as deep as the container the tree came in. To test the depth of the water poke a stick down and see how far you get before it gets hard.

Keeping the ground always wet isn't good as the roots need to breath but if you are only surface watering then the feeder roots may not be getting the water. Occasional deep watering is best.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 9:51AM
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There is no way to tell you without complete info. First, most builders don't know plants. Second, if your irrigation company won't answer your questions you need to find a new company. Third, plants die. I don't know why but it seems atleast 10% of nursery sold plants just die, improper handling, etc.

Another issue is that many plants must be planted at different depths to survive, and builders, and many landscapers, scary as it is, don't know this.

Step one is find someone with references to take a look.

Next, how many gallons per minute does your system flow? Most drip emitters yield 0.6 or 1.1 gphour. Actual sprinkler heads come in nozzle sizes of 0.5 gp minute to 10 gpm
So 5 minutes may yield 2.5 gallons or 50 gallons. So how could we tell you a specific schedule?

Next, what is your coverage? It should be uniform overlapping coverage. many builders space out the heads to save money and you wind up with dry spots.

Also, every house is different, from soil mixture to contaminants, to plant types, layout, sun exposure, wind exposure, flow rates, spacing. and the big killer, since you rent, is animal urine possibly from the previous tenants pet.

As far as different water needs per plant...If you have a drip aka micro-irrigation line, you can easily set the watering time based on gpm and plants most fragile in regards to frequency. Then, for the plants requiring larger amounts of water, add, or switch out the emitter to a higher flow one.

Which would water like this...Once a week(drought tolerant yard with established plants) for one hour. Say you have 1 gallon per hour emitters. if placed properly each plant is getting one gallon, If you have 2 emitters near a plant it's getting 2 gallons, etc.

Now, If you have sandy soil that water just goes straight into the ground. as an example, if i'm running and you throw a glass of water at me, i may catch a mouthful. If i sit at a table with that glass of water i can drink the whole thing. sorry for a bad analogy.

I will also put the drip pipe in rows so that 1 emitter lines up on each side of the plant. this is important or half of the plant will brown out. spacing should be 1 foot with drip since a single emitter in avg conditions will spread 6 inches each way in a circle, hence 6 plus 6 is 1 foot, and they meet in the middle. additionally if the drip pipe emitters are spaced 1 foot apart on the actually pipe you will have 2 rows of 1 foot apart emitters, 1 foot from the other pipe, giving you a 1 foot wide path of irrigated soil as long as your rows. Ideally, with your plants smack in the middle.

Find out the actual gallon needs for the plants. looking at the soil is pointless, except in placement of heads. you want to be just outside of the root to promote growth outward. You may check the soil and find it to be damp, but then an hour later because of climate the top inch or two evaporates from wind or heat. Then what you thought was a correct schedule is still leading to dead plants. Now, many drought tolerant plants are damn near impossible to kill, after all they live in the wild. But you have an established issue of dead plants. And yes less often, deeper waterings are better to prevent plants becoming dependent on constant waterings due to shallow roots. however some plants will always have shallow roots naturally, and need less water more often.(again factor in soil drainage rate)

So, if you feel confident enough to find out what you have, what you need, and the smartest way to get there, then go for it. But if you take advice and try one thing at a time, maybe you will fix the problem on the first try, maybe you will spend money on 10 different suggestions and still kill your plants. I HIGHLY suggest finding an irrigation guy with recommendations, and if he sounds like he knows what he's doing, and you trust him to do it right, just have him fix it. saving a buck on a guy who doesn't speak english and kills plants isn't saving a buck. And make sure your landlord is reimbursing you for repairs before you waste your money on a rental.

Additionally, Hunter makes a weather station based on your specific micro climate. it's about $600 retail and puts a value on every variable possible. you tell it the soil type, amount of wind, plant type and age, angle of slope of hills, amount of shade, etc. and it reads rainfall, temp, evaporation rates,and can calculate the amount of water on your plants vs. the amount needed. It knows that you got an inch of rain but 1/4 evaporated in the sunny spots and decide if more water is needed. It has wiltguard that knows if the temp is too hot for the plants, and will turn on the heads to water down the leaves and give them a break from the heat. You will never underwater a plant, and you will never over water, saving money on your water-bill.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 5:00PM
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