Check out the newest newsletter for May 2012!

Check out the newest newsletter for May 2012!

The May 2012 Newsletter talks about my garden, and how my plants are doing.  There are a few tips for garden maintenance and irrigation, as well!


When was the last time you thought of a natural disaster in California?

Natural disasters are seldom thought of in California, aside from earthquakes. Disastrous earthquakes occur relatively infrequently, in fact. For example, the last “disastrous” earthquake took place on October 17, 1989. That was 22 years ago. Other regions of the Unites States, for instance, must endure natural disasters on a seasonal basis. Some regions face droughts much more severe than those we see in California. Other regions deal with tidal surges, hurricanes, tornadoes, or snowstorms. Should California be worried about natural disasters other than earthquakes? According to the Water Education Foundation, Californians should be prepared for flooding.
The Central Valley, ranging from Redding in the north to Bakersfield in the south has experienced serious flooding in the past. Emmy award-winning producer Stephanie Locher has produced a 30-minute documentary called Overcoming the Deluge: California’s Plan for Managing Floods. This documentary focuses on the past, present, and future flood management techniques and strategies of California’s Central Valley. This short documentary will air on Wednesday, November 9th at 7:00 pm; Friday, November 11th at 4:00 pm; and Sunday, November 13th at 6:00 pm on Sacramento’s KVIE Channel 6.
This documentary includes stories from Central Valley residents who have first-hand experience of severe floods. The documentary also features interviews with water experts from the California Department of Water Resources, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, The Bureau of Reclamation, The Central Valley Flood management Program, and other environmental groups. The goal of this documentary is to educate interested parties about the sustainable, integrated, holistic flood management plan that is being implemented in the Central Valley.
Brian O’Neill

Texas residents struggle to save pipes and water

Over the past week, many Texas residents have struggled to keep their pipes from freezing. Central Texas farmers have been fortunate enough to avoid the freeze in most places, but some were not so fortunate. There were over 1,000 phone calls placed to the Austin Fire Department, and about 600 phone calls to the Austin Water Utility. Many workers were forced to work 12-hour shifts over the weekend to repair the broken water lines.
Although many areas throughout the United States experience below-freezing temperatures, there are many solutions to prevent pipes from bursting. For example, homeowners or maintenance personnel can easily wrap pipe with pipe insulation, or heat tape to prevent freezing.
Pipe insulation is one of the easiest and most cost-effective methods of preventing pipes from freezing. This solution works for both indoor as well as outdoor plumbing. Since the insulation can be left on year-round, it requires almost no maintenance once installed. The only recommended maintenance is to inspect the insulation to make sure it has not been pulled off of the pipes. This can be found at almost any hardware store. Here is an example:
Other methods such as wrapping pipe with heat tape are also very effective. Heat tape, however, requires a small electrical current to heat and thus can cause problems if wet. This can also cause liability risks, so it should only be installed by qualified electricians. This should only be installed if it complies with all codes in your area. Here is an example of heat tape:
Brian O’Neill

Native plants do more than just save water in your garden.

Originally posted in the BeWaterwise group discussion forum on LinkedIn.  Reposted here with permission of Reginald I.Durant, Director of Restoration/Executive Director at Back to Natives Restoration, Inc. 

Are you aware that the use of locally Native plants in landscaping saves much more than just water?  We hope requirements for water conservation will encourage more home owners and business to use LOCALLY native plants, not drought tolerant non native species. Many species used today that are listed or touted as drought tolerant cost the state and federal governments millions of dollars each year in habitat restoration and weed eradication projects. Back to Natives Restoration teaches the USFS & Back to Natives Restoration Training Program for the Trabuco Ranger District of the Cleveland National Forest. The majority of the species we teach our students how to remove are included in recommended planting lists for water saving in the garden including Olive species, Pepper Trees, Palm Trees, Fountain Grassso called sterile and non sterile varieties are found throughout our wildlands and currently seeded by CALTRANS along our freeways and many more. Please see the book “Invasive Plants of California Wildlands” to see how many California Friendly Plants are not so friendly after all! The use of Locally Native California plants reduces the amount of water used in landscaping, reduces chemical use in the garden as they are adapted to local pests, provides longer flowering seasons if planted appropriately, and reduces the likelihood of our Ornamental Plants escaping and invading local wilderness areas thereby costing non profits and public agencies millions of dollars per year. Last year BTN alone had over 950 volunteers work more than 3500 hours removing non native plants and seeding or planting natives!

 Visit the Back to Natives website here: