If you want to do something good for your landscape this year, here are four resolutions that you can adopt today.
We gathered these from local experts, including members of The Gardeners of Tucson (TGOT) and the Arizona chapter of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD).
1. Create a sustainable landscape. Start by replacing a non-native plant with a native one, advises landscape designer Sue Blattner.
Pick some that attract pollinators. "This could be as simple as planting a bird-friendly shrub like a desert hackberry, wolfberry or saltbush," says Greg Corman, owner of Gardening Insights.
Compost food scraps and plant litter or leave plant litter on the ground so it slowly changes into soil amendment.
Adopt xeriscaping. "Xeriscape landscapes help sustain the ecosystem by saving water and providing much needed habitat and food for our native wildlife," says Shelly Ann Abbott, owner of Landscape Design West.
2. Harvest water. An easy tactic "is to use a bucket to capture shower water while you're waiting for the water to get warm," suggests Rachel Gioannini, owner of Casa Serena Landscape Designs.
Grade the ground to drive water to plants. Collect rainwater in containers to use later. Install a gray-water system that guides appropriate used water to the landscape.
3. Create something worthwhile. Plant edibles, including easy-growing herbs, suggests TGOT President Ardis Niemann Noonan, and Southwest heirlooms, says Kendall Kroesen, the Tucson Audubon Society's habitats program manager.
Plant trees on the south or west sides of your home to reduce heat and utility bills, Gioannini says.
Establish a meditative area with a sitting platform and flowing water, suggests landscape architect Scott Field, who teaches at the Southwest University of Visual Arts.
4. Plan ahead. "Do not go to the nursery and randomly grab plants for your yard," advises Paul Connolly, owner of Sundrea Design Studio. He and other APLD members suggest having a design, whether your own or a professional's, and knowing what plants fit it.
"Planning and research will save you money and hours of frustration by ensuring you've made good choices," Connolly says.
Planning also saves the plant, says Lorien Tersey, owner of Dreamflower Garden. "Never bring home more than you can plant in one day," she says. Make sure your garden is ready or you have the right pot, she adds.
Things to do this month
Start your new year off right by taking care of these January gardening tasks suggested by the Pima County Cooperative Extension.
• Fertilize winter vegetables that are yellowing or growing slowly.
• Repot plants with large roots that have grown out of the soil ball.
• Feed zinc to citrus trees with outer leaves that have bright yellow bands between dark green veins.
• Plant bare-root roses.
• Prune deciduous fruit trees.
• Order seeds to sow indoors in February.
Contact local freelance writer Elena Acoba at firstname.lastname@example.org