Garden Galaxy
Focus on Plant Health
Desert Southwest Gardens
Science from
The Planting Guru
Irrigation Basics Group
Garden Tips
TB1110 - TB1112
TB1113 - TB1114
TB1270 & TB1273
Plus a link to
*The Garden Calculator Pro-I
Technical Bulletin Series
Tips for Successful Landscapes and Gardens
The horticultural information presented in this section of Garden Galaxy is written to the plant lovers, gardeners and landscape maintenance people in the Desert Southwest. Here, though a region may have a rainy season, it has a drought season as well. A season where for many months little to no measurable rain will fall. There are plants that can naturally tolerate this, but even these will look so much more beautiful if given adequate supplemental irrigation.

Additionally, in this region the soil is often very hard (high clay) or overly porous (sandy) and generally without any organic composition to help root systems grow. Consequently, there are a number of issues to deal with in order to have success throughout the year and over time.

After hundreds of on-sight landscape consultations, it has been my experience that understanding and respecting soil composition in conjunction with a comprehensive plan for irrigation design and techniques are the primary reasons for results that after a couple years do not meet expectations.

NOTE: Recommendations without scientific explanations backing them up can be found all over the internet. These may make fun reading, but too many miss the mark. In the webpages dedicated to gardening success in the Desert Southwest found here at Garden Galaxy; you may perhaps find terms and discussions that are beyond your interest. Feel free to browse through this course and pay more attention to the articles that fit your interest. I do recommend that, if hiring a professional to care for your landscape or garden - THEY SHOULD BE INTERESTED in the whole package.

Adjustable Shrubbler

Emitter Layout
for a Tree
This most popular of irrigation emitters
IS NOT a DRIP. It is a spray.
The point is that the rate water is emitted is fast,
and this means the runtime needs to be short
or there will be flooding and run-off.
Proper irrigation distributes the water
and moisture throughout the rootzone area
under the dripline of the tree or shrub.

Using high flow rate devices can cause
line pressure loss and complicate
or defeat the irrigation plan.

Click/Tap to Read Tip TB1110
Water Requirements for Trees and Shrubs

This Bulletin discusses the issue of water quantity needed by a plant (basically in gallons) in order to succeed in creating a broad and deep root system.

Additionally, it covers how soil composition will affect your irrigation plan.

click/tap to read TB1112
Drip Emitter Placement For Shrubs and Trees

Discussed in this article, is the locations for placement of emitters and the reasons for the various type of design that is recommended.

Soil composition, whether clayey or sandy has a huge impact on emitter placement. Without properly planning for this the ultimate success for your landscape will be negatively impacted.

click/tap to read TB1113
Drip Irrigation Basics
Moisture Distribution

Some basic "Do's and Don'ts" for successful irrigation practices. The science behind "why" these are good ideas to follow will help your understanding and motivate you to take the few extra steps to get it right in the first place.

click/tap to read TB1114
Dripperlines for New Plants

New plants initially have very limited root systems. Only those roots within the Nursery Pot exist. Often many of these are traumatized during transplant. It is critical that the new little roots be placed into a significantly larger hole filled with good deep moist soil.

click/tap to read TB1115
Dripperlines for Large Shrubs and Trees

On mature large shrubs and trees, the roots very near to the trunk are larger diameter roots that do not take up water and nutrients. Instead, these feeder roots are located 2 feet or more away from the trunk. Smaller roots are capable of absorbing water and nutrients which are then translocated into the plant.

click/tap to read TB1116
Soil Moisture Permeation

Depth and width of soil moisture is what creates good healthy root systems. Due to the cost and scarcity of water, current irrigation practice does not afford only watering the surface where evaporation is high, or simply pushing water as deeply as possible. Instead, best practices recommend watering slowly, in order to allow depth of permeation.

click/tap to read TB1150
Drip Emitters
Selecting and Standardizing

The first thing in planning or upgrading your irrigation system is in making the best selection for the type of "drip emitter" you intend to use. Mixing different types of emitters on the same valve or zone will create added problems. So, picking the type that will serve all the plants on any single zone is very important.

click/tap to read TB1270
Dripperlines for Raised Beds

There are a number of ways to provide water for a raised bed. This can make water requirements or planning more complicated.

One method: "Supply enough and distribute the water to the entire raised bed in order to provide adequate moisture to ALL of the bed with sufficient depth."

click/tap to read TB1273
Xeriscape - Don't Kill that Tree

Reducing water consumption and cost through turf removal does not imply that your yard will look desolate, or become a dry and hot area. Lawns are shallow rooted and therefore the water applied rather quickly evaporates. This is the prime reason that grass is a major water consumer. Success requires planning.

click/tap to use the Garden Calculator Pro-I
Garden Calculator Pro-I:

Designed to be used on a cell phone where you can be right at the site and location of the new or existing plant; after answering a few questions this will provide comprehensive instructions for; plant hole size, amendment formulas, irrigation design and timer scheduling. When you complete one plant, you can take a screenshot and move onto a different plant. You can even send the result to your client.