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2022 
DIGITAL CALENDAR

For the past 11 years, Council for Watershed Health has published the Landscaping Lightly Calendar to provide practical tips and vibrant (vibrante!) illustrations to inspire individual actions toward achieving resilient landscapes, a particularly timely focus this year. Recent drought and wildfire events in California coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic have underscored the many challenges facing our environment and most vulnerable communities.

 

Over the last year, we have all faced the realities of spending more time in our local neighborhoods and in the open spaces available to us as we adhered to public health guidelines. For some, this has prompted a second look at the areas in which we live, and for many has reinforced the need to increase open space and rethink and redesign our region’s landscapes. Using the sustainable and ecological approaches shared in this calendar, the neighborhoods where we live and play can provide benefits to all and for generations to come.

 

This year, we are pleased to offer our Landscaping Lightly in print form so that these tips and artwork can be a daily reminder in your home and community spaces. We have also translated the 2022 edition into Spanish (haga clic aquí para leer estos consejos en español) for an even greater reach in our communities. As in-person events start to safely take place, look for us at community events to pick up a calendar.

 

With generous support from our partners listed below, we hope you enjoy using the information and resources provided in this year’s Landscaping Lightly. From all of us at the Council for Watershed Health, we wish you a happy and healthy new year!

 

Sincerely,

Eileen Alduenda

Executive Director

Council for Watershed Health LLC_

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Welcome to Landscaping Lightly!

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January
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These tips are sponsored by:

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#1

Use rain barrels attached to your rain gutters to collect rain for later use. Be sure to use the collected water regularly; average-sized rain barrels can fill quickly even in small storms.

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#2

A 1000 square foot rooftop in Los Angeles produces on average more than 9000 gallons of water annually. For larger landscapes, consider using cisterns to store rainwater to use year-round!

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#3

Collect rain water from your roof by using rain gutters and directing your downspouts into designated areas of your garden.

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BONUS TIP: Use rain barrels attached to your rain gutters to collect rain for later use. Be sure to use the collected water regularly; average-sized rain barrels can fill quickly even in small storms.

JANUARY

February
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These tips are sponsored by:

TIP

#1

Swales are u-shaped basins in your landscape that capture rain, preventing it from flowing down streets and picking up pollution. Visit the Council for Watershed Health’s demonstration green street and alley at Elmer Avenue for ideas! 

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#2

The first step is to find out if your soils allow water to quickly soak in. Perform a soil infiltration test by following the instructions in this Rainwater Harvesting Homeowner’s “How To” Guide.

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#3

The Safe Clean Water Program provides cost

saving incentives for removing paved surfaces and replacing them with sustainable landscapes. Visit WaterforLA.com for further information on where our water comes from, its connection to rivers and lakes upstream and how our actions can benefit our region.

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BONUS TIP: Slow it down, spread it out, and sink it in! Keep stormwater from polluting streams and the ocean by creating areas where rainwater can soak into your landscape.

FEBRUARY

March
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#1

Grow California native plants that attract pollinators with their nectar. You can find a great list of pollinator-friendly native nectar plants online at Xerces.org. 

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#2

Grow plants that Monarch butterflies use to lay their eggs and caterpillars will eat - like native milkweed! To learn more about growing California native milkweeds, visit Xerces.org.

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#3

Only use native milkweeds and avoid non-native and tropical milkweed plants as they can harm Monarch butterflies and their larvae. You can find milkweed and other host and nectar providing plants for Monarch and other butterflies that are local to your area by using the advanced search on www.calscape.org and in this terrific article from our friends at the Theodore Payne Foundation:

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BONUS TIP: Monarch butterflies are in jeopardy. After three years at their lowest levels ever recorded in Western North America, the most recent count is showing improvement. Plant native plants to continue supporting their population and recovery. 

MARCH

April
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#1

Aedes mosquitoes were introduced just a few years ago and they are now thriving in our neighborhoods. Standing water in backyards, old tires, gutters, rain barrels, toys buckets, ponds, improperly maintained pools, and storm drains can act as breeding areas. They will breed in something as small as a bottle cap.

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#2

In ponds, fountains, bird baths or pools where water is not moving or filtered, use mosquito dunks that contain the biological mosquito control agent called Bti. Bti is natural and kills mosquito larvae but is harmless to wildlife and pets.

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#3

Studies have shown that mosquitoes are part of the diet of some birds, bats, frogs, lizards, and dragonflies. Planting native plants will create habitat for these mosquito-eaters.

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BONUS TIP: Aedes mosquitos are new mosquitoes in Southern California that bite during the day and have the potential to transmit diseases like Zika, dengue, yellow fever, and cikungunya. It is now more important than ever to inspect your yard weekly and any standing water you may find.

APRIL

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#1

To keep our urban forests diverse and healthy, plant California native trees like the coast live oak. Large native trees provide shelter, food, and habitat for native animals; they also make great play areas for children. Plant in the late fall or winter when cool weather will help ensure proper establishment.

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#2

Trim trees only when necessary and only when birds are not nesting. It is unlawful to needlessly destroy bird nests. See the Los Angeles Audubon Tree Trimming Guidelines:

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#3

Find trees suitable for your region:

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BONUS TIP: Hire reputable tree trimmers, and never top a tree; the resulting branches will be weak and the tree will become susceptible to high wind and pests & disease.

MAY

May
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#1

Follow nature - wait until November when temperatures fall and winter rains begin to install native plants. Planting in the summer when the soil is hot and dry decreases your chances of a successful landscape. Who wants to buy plants twice due to poor planning?

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#2

Most drought-tolerant California native plants want winter water and flourish best when planted when soils are cooler and moister. 

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#3

If turf is removed or landscape planning proceeds, use summer months to design the landscape, prepare soil, remove/control weeds, install hardscape (pathways, birdbaths) and stormwater infiltration features.

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BONUS TIP: Begin shopping for your plant list at local native plant nurseries and purchase during the big fall plant sales!

JUNE

July
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TIP

#1

Create a 2-4" blanket of inorganic (gravel) or organic (wood chips) mulch over the soil surface and around plants to conserve water, keep soil cool, suppress weeds, reduce compaction, and slowly make nitrogen and other nutrients available. 

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#2

Mulch created from greenwaste includes wood chips, dried leaves and twigs that are the result of tree pruning and landscape maintenance. This is readily available from many tree companies and many cities have free mulch available. By using this mulch, you can reduce greenwaste that would otherwise be sent to the landfill. You can also create your own mulch by chipping and shredding your own greenwaste. Avoid composting weeds and diseased plants that can spread and cause problems in your landscape.

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#3

Most native plants evolved with lean soils and DO NOT need fertilizer. Mulch slowly decomposes at the soil surface and releases nutrients at a rate that native plants can absorb.

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BONUS TIP: Keep mulch 6" from the base of your plants to keep them healthy; otherwise mulch can keep too much soil moisture and cause root rot and other disease.

These tips are sponsored by:

JULY

August

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#1

With the right soil, sun, water and food, most plants will thrive in pots on balconies and patios. Pots can be made of clay, plastic, cement, wood or fabric. Old buckets, totes, and trash cans with drainage holes work great, too.

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#2

Feeding plants in pots is important. If growing fruits and vegetables, organic composts and fertilizers can be added to the soil surface. Most native plants need no supplemental fertilizer. For many nitrogen-loving indoor plants, bi-annual applications of a granular slow release granular fertilizer or regular applications of a balanced liquid fertilizer with minor nutrients is recommended.

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#3

In the summer heat, soil moisture should be checked on a weekly basis, while in the winter, plants may not need to be watered at all. Keep a close eye on your potted plants and watch for wilting leaves. This will give you an idea of how often between waterings you can wait each season.

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BONUS TIP: In the summer heat, soil moisture should be checked on a weekly basis, while in the winter, plants may not need to be watered at all. Most native plants need no supplemental fertilizer. 

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These tips are sponsored by:
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AUGUST

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#1

Save water and money by using greywater to irrigate trees, shrubs, groundcovers and flower beds. But first, pay special attention to what's going down the drain! Use only detergents and cleaning products low in salts and free of boron. Your plants will thank you for it!

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#2

Participate in a local workshop to learn about how to set up safe and approved greywater reuse systems. Follow the link below for more information!

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#3

Check current California Plumbing Code before moving forward with your plans. Permits are needed for some types of greywater systems. The current greywater code, Title 24, Part 5, Chapter 16 can be found at the link below.

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BONUS TIP: Greywater is "wash water" from bathroom sinks, showers and washing machines. 

Created in partnership with:
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SEPTEMBER

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#1

If you live in a fire hazard area, learn how to create fire resistant structures and maintain a defensible space around your home. Visit the UCANR link below for more info.

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#2

Some tips for your home:

  • When landscaping, consult with your local fire department to make sure that your plant selection and spacing are fire safe.

  • Minimize flammable plants from within 30 feet of your home. Maintain individual trees and shrubs to keep them free of dead wood. 

  • Create space between trees and shrubs within 30-100 feet of your structure (200 feet if your local fire department requires it.

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#3

Start a local Fire Safe Council for your community to educate residents on how to protect their home and neighborhood from wildfire. Learn more about how ou can join the over 100 Fire Safe Councils below!

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BONUS TIP: Regularly clean debris from your roof and gutters to keep blowing embers from igniting structures. 

Created in partnership with:
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OCTOBER

November
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#1

Bees, Bats and Birds are beneficial in our landscapes where they pollinate our plants and trees and help keep insect pests under control. By creating bee, bat, and bird houses, you can provide shelter, nesting and resting places for these winged and wonderful wildlife.

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#2

Not all bee houses are good for bees. Building a bee house out of the right materials will help you avoid mites and mold. Make sure your bee houses are made of wood that isn’t bamboo and that you can easily replace the nesting materials every season. More information can be found at the link below.

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