Certify Your Wildlife Habitat: Water

All animals need water to survive and some need it for bathing or breeding as well. But finding ways to offer water sustainably is one of the hardest parts of gardening here in Arizona. Your habitat doesn't have to have flowing water or even offer water 24/7. Offering water intermittently still qualifies for certification. Take a look at these options for water. You will need three to certify your wildlife habitat.

Plant plants that offer water:  nectar-rich flowers, cup-shaped leaves that hold moisture, or succulents are just some options. Did you know that not all succulents are cacti! 

Install a water feature such as a fountain, pond, or even a small portable solar fountain. These options are more costly and time consuming due to installation and upkeep but they can attract a wide variety of wildlife.

Leave one of your 1/4 inch drip lines sticking out of your mulch. While the irrigation is on, small critters will find this dripping water or the water that has already dripped onto the ground. Placing that open drip line under a tree will offer cover from predators, reduce the evaporation of the water, and continue to irrigate the tree all at the same time!

Create a water bath by hollowing out the top 2 or 3 inches of a tree stump or placing pebbles or small rocks in a plant saucer, garbage can lid, or other saucer-shaped object. Offer an escape ladder for smaller wildlife that might fall in, a stick or rocks will often be enough. Wash the dish or trough frequently.

Install a water harvester by directing rain water to stay on your property instead of being directed out to the street. Starting at your drain spout and several feet from your foundation, a shallow sloping swale lined with rocks will shuttle water around the yard without creating erosion or stagnant pools.

Plant a rain garden either along the water harvester or in places where water collects such as under the eaves. Rain gardens are meant to have rain intermittently, plant plants that can do well in both dry and flood conditions.

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