Given Coachella Valley’s hot summers and naturally dry climate, wise desert gardeners follow water-efficient gardening principles.

Here are some Water-saving plant tips recommended by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources:

  • Remove plants in crowded beds or low-priority plants competing for soil moisture.
  • Mulch, mulch, mulch any time of the year.
    • 3” to 4” layer reduces water evaporation and weeds
    • Protects roots from heat
    • Reduces weeds that compete for water
  • Avoid heavy pruning.
  • Avoid overuse of fertilizer, which increases growth and water demands.
  • Occasional deep watering encourages deeper root growth and results in plants with greater drought tolerance.
  • Use a drip irrigation system, grouping plants with similar needs on one drip irrigation line.

Garden Chores

May brings the first hint of summer, affecting plants in many ways. You may find the heat starts to limit your time in the garden. Getting ready for summer’s triple-digit temperatures, you may want to:

  • Check your irrigation system and flush lines to eliminate dirt and debris that can clog lines and emitters.

Increase watering amounts. See the chart here for how much.

  • Clean up faded plants and remove dead leaves.

For more ideas

The 160-page book “Lush and Efficient: Desert-Friendly Landscaping in the Coachella Valley” lists more than 300 plants and includes over 800 photos. The book can be searched by several dozen categories.

You can pick up a free copy at CVWD’s Coachella office at 50-501 Tyler St. or CVWD’s Palm Desert office at 75-525 Hovley Lane East (the same building where you pay your bill). The book is also available for PDF download at