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The 505 Outside Blog covers topics on desert friendly landscapes practices, landscape maintenance, irrigation principles, and seasonal tips.

Watering in winter

Watering in winter

Baby, it’s cold outside. Or is it? How do you water during the cold and dry winter season? The weather predictions are in, and we are headed into a very dry La Niña winter season. This means we need to water our plants this winter in order to keep them healthy. Due to...

The water conservation gift that keeps on giving

The water conservation gift that keeps on giving

What is a smart irrigation controller and why would you want one as a gift? The Water Authority’s irrigation efficiency specialist Richard Perce says, “While an irrigation controller is a must for your landscape, a smart controller adjusts your watering based on...

Compost del Rio Grande

Compost del Rio Grande

In 1988, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority’s started a composting facility for biosolids produced. 505Outside recently visited the Soil Amendment Facility to check out the “Compost Del Rio Grande.” Water Authority compost is unlike any other in...

November is for protecting your irrigation system

November is for protecting your irrigation system

During this time of year, plants store most of their nutrients in the roots and find shelter in the ground. Also, this is the time of year to winterize your irrigation system. To avoid damage to your irrigation system we recommend setting it to the OFF position. Since...

Types of Mulches

Types of Mulches

Mulch is any material laid on the surface of the soil to improve growing conditions. Mulch insulates plant roots from both heat and cold, reducing moisture loss from the soil by evaporation, feeding beneficial soil microorganisms that enhance plant growth, and...

Frontier Elm, Ulmus ‘frontier’

Frontier Elm, Ulmus ‘frontier’

Exposure: Full Sun Water: Medium Height and Spread: H 40' X W 30' Fall Color: Reddish Purple The Siberian elm tree, the quintessential tree in Albuquerque, was originally introduced by Mayor Clyde Tingley. It is a beautiful tree that’s almost...

The Life Expectancy of an Irrigation System

The Life Expectancy of an Irrigation System

While a subsurface drip irrigation system can last from twelve to fifteen years, especially if it is maintained well, some of the system’s components may need to be replaced or repaired through the years. A controller, for example, is subject to UV degradation if it...

Learn How to Harvest Rainwater in Your Yard

Learn How to Harvest Rainwater in Your Yard

Do you want to learn how to harvest rainwater to support a beautiful, regionally adapted, low -water-use landscape in your yard? A new video series launched in June provides instruction on how to design, install, and maintain residential-scale, passive rainwater...

Plant these this Fall

Plant these this Fall

Fall can be a great time to plant, especially if you are planting higher elevation and temperate climate plants that are adapted to cooler, more humid growing conditions. In the fall, the soil is still warm enough to encourage roots to develop so watering properly...

Yes, you can afford an irrigation system

Yes, you can afford an irrigation system

Did you know that half of Albuquerque homeowners do not have an irrigation system? We’ve been talking to hundreds of homeowners, and it turns out that the reason they haven’t installed one in their yard is they think an irrigation system for a typical lot (1/8 acre or...

Vegetable and Herb Gardening in Small Spaces

Vegetable and Herb Gardening in Small Spaces

Growing vegetables and herbs at home in small spaces can be easy, fun, rewarding and not expensive. Here are some tips for anyone from first timer to a pro. Start small with a raised bed, good-sized pots or containers or a small plot of ground. Good soil is the key in...

Watering to Establish New Plantings.

Watering to Establish New Plantings.

Irrigation is essential to give plants a healthy start, so they become well-rooted in the landscape. A great way to find out the water needs of individual plants is by checking out the ABCWUA Xeriscape Guide and then follow the seasonal watering recommendations. When...

Backyard Refuges for People and Wildlife

Backyard Refuges for People and Wildlife

Building a refuge for wildlife in our yards is a way to nurture habitat on a personal scale and actively care for our wild neighbors. By intentionally creating spaces we can share with other urban species, Albuquerque can be a refuge for both people and wildlife....

Use Drip Irrigation for your Trees and Shrubs!

Use Drip Irrigation for your Trees and Shrubs!

Drip irrigation systems play an important role in desert-friendly xeriscapes. When properly designed, installed and managed, drip irrigation efficiently maintains the optimal range of moisture in the soil. It applies water in precise quantities, to the right depth and...

The Life and Dry Times of 505 Trees

The Life and Dry Times of 505 Trees

As I write this, a cold thin snow cover still hides the ground, but it won’t last long. If we’re lucky, the snow will slowly melt and seep into the soil; if we aren’t lucky, it will sublimate right into the atmosphere – straight from solid to gas. Alas, the roots of...

Take the Guesswork Out of Programming an Irrigation Controller

Take the Guesswork Out of Programming an Irrigation Controller

Irrigation controllers can be intimidating, particularly because they only get adjusted seasonally and it is easy to forget how to program the timer correctly. In this article, we are going to explain some terms and point out some functions which are universal,...

Drought Advisory and the 2020 Regional Annual Weather Summary

Drought Advisory and the 2020 Regional Annual Weather Summary

According to the National Weather Service, 2020 tied with the second warmest and fourth driest year on record. As we go into this season with deepened drought conditions, let’s discuss last year's weather events. Water usage is affected by various factors including...

Make your turfgrass irrigation more efficient in 3 easy steps.

Make your turfgrass irrigation more efficient in 3 easy steps.

Adopting water efficiency strategies will be the key to weathering the drought this year. These three simple steps can help you conserve water, rebates available for all three recommendations. 1. Update your controller with a WaterSense Smart Irrigation Controller...

This year: Invest in an Automated Irrigation System

This year: Invest in an Automated Irrigation System

There is a saying that “time is more valuable than gold.” Watering your yard can bring relaxation and time to enjoy the beauty of creation. But, for people with larger yards and those who are too busy to devote hours each week to watering, an automated irrigation...

Plan Now for a Xeriscape Conversion

Plan Now for a Xeriscape Conversion

Winter is the best time to rethink your high water use turfgrass and create a plan for a xeriscape yard of desert-friendly plants. A desert friendly xeriscape will help you save water, reduce maintenance, encourage pollinators, and beat the heat of the summer. ...

Irrigation Maintenance Checklist for the Greater Albuquerque Area

Irrigation Maintenance Checklist for the Greater Albuquerque Area

With drought conditions predicted to continue for the foreseeable future, we’re likely to water more often this spring and summer. Make every drop count – and keep us on track to meet our conservation goals – by performing routine maintenance to maximize your...

The Albuquerque Urban Forest

The Albuquerque Urban Forest

In an arid city like Albuquerque, trees and the urban forest are even more important than in places with more moisture. Trees provide shade and habitat, and help cool the urban landscape. To sustain a healthy canopy trees require special care given the arid climate,...

Yucca Baccata Compacta, Datil / Banana Yucca

Yucca Baccata Compacta, Datil / Banana Yucca

Exposure: Full sun Water: Rain Water Height and Spread: H 4’ X W 5' Description: The Yucca Baccata Compacta originated in Mora in northeastern New Mexico. It is low maintenance and drought resistant. The huge fruit in the middle, which ripens in late summer and is...

Garden Gifts – Staff Picks

Garden Gifts – Staff Picks

With so much time spent at home this year, many homeowners have taken up gardening. To encourage this trend and spread the joy that spending time in nature brings, we’ve pulled together a list of Water Authority Conservation staff’s favorite garden tools they can’t...

Colorado Blue Spruce Fat Albert, Picea pungens “Fat Albert”

Colorado Blue Spruce Fat Albert, Picea pungens “Fat Albert”

Exposure: Full sun Water: Medium Height and Spread: H 50' X W 20' Blooming Season: NA Description: The Colorado Blue Spruce adjusts well to most Albuquerque soils and is a staple in numerous landscapes. It is resilient to flooding and drought as well. This tree...

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Contact Information

Water Conservation Program
P.O. Box 568
Albuquerque, NM 87103-0568

www.abcwua.org

505-842-WATR  Option 4

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P.O. Box 568
Albuquerque, NM 87103-0568
505-842-WATR