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WaterSaver newsletter
Monday, October 12, 2009 Back to Issue Archive
Selection Perfection
By Erin Conant
When choosing your "forever plants" like trees and shrubs, consider how large they'll get before planting them.

There are times when we think too much, and times when we just don't think enough. But when it comes to creating the landscape you truly want, precise planning and thoughtfulness are key to rendering the terrain your senses desire.

And, it all starts with being realistic about what you have to work with.

In this part of Texas, we often contend with frequent droughts, soil that is mostly clay or rock, or hungry and indiscriminate wildlife. Of course, there are lots of experts on these issues including local plant nurseries and gardens, AgriLife Extension agents, Master Gardeners, and our very own conservation consultants. Don't hesitate to solicit their talents and expertise when selecting your plants.

Also, when choosing your "forever plants" like trees and shrubs, plan for the future. They start out small, but they don't stay that way. Consider whether that shrub you plant by the window will end up obstructing your view, or if that Monterrey Oak at maturity will cause roof or power line issues. Also, think about the location of outdoor faucets, dryer vents and roof drip lines, and avoid designs that might make it difficult to mow.

Once your design is complete and you've indentified which plants work best for you, shop wisely. Buy smaller, less expensive plants that are healthy-looking and not wilted, full of weeds or root-bound.

Erin Conant is a conservation consultant for San Antonio Water System.

Last Digit
of Street
0 or 1 Monday
2 or 3 Tuesday
4 or 5 Wednesday
6 or 7 Thursday
8 or 9 Friday
No watering on weekends with a sprinkler, soaker hose or irrigation system. Areas without a street address, such as medians and neighborhood entryways, water on Wednesday.
Watering with a sprinkler or irrigation system is allowed once a week before 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m. on your assigned day, as determined by your address.
Friday, May 23, 2014
0 in. Bermuda (Full Sun)
0 in. Buffalo (Full Sun)
0 in. St. Augustine (Full Sun)
0 in. St. Augustine (Shade)
0 in. Zoysia (Full Sun)
0 in. Zoysia (Shade)
Rain benefits continue this week with established plants. No water necessary. Hand water newly planted plants. Donna Fossum, SAWS Conservation Planner.

Ask A Garden Geek
I miss the pines that grew in my hometown. Do any grow here?
Sadly, only a few pines do well in San Antonio. Plants that survive here have to withstand drought and floods. Recommended pine trees are Aleppo pine and Italian stone pine.
E-mail your question to
Seasonal Star
Pineapple Sage
(Salvia elegans)
A perennial shrub, pineapple sage is native to Mexico and Guatemala. It grows 2 to 3 feet tall and is popular with butterflies and hummingbirds because of its fragrant flowers. This late fall-blooming shrub may lose its leaves during severe droughts, but it will bounce back with a little water.
Past Peak
Trumpet Vine
(Campsis radicans)
A prolific bloomer under ideal conditions, trumpet vine has beautiful trumpet-shaped flowers in various colors, most commonly orange and red. This mid- to late-summer bloomer will grow in sun or partial shade and is highly attractive to hummingbirds. If not pruned regularly, trumpet vine can be very invasive.
Event Calendar
San Antonio Herb Market
Oct. 17, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Pearl Brewery, 200 E. Grayson
Get all your questions about herbs answered and find the right herbs for your garden. Hundreds of different herbs will be for sale. Admission is free.
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