Harmonizing Landscaping with the Environment...
Low Water Use Benefits and Methods

Drought conditions are not something new in Nebraska.

In fact, in a 1943 study scientists uncovered trees deeply buried in sediment for centuries revealed numerous droughts in the region throughout an 800-year period. In some cases, the droughts lasted for 20 years. So, for a place once known as the “Great American Desert” droughts may be a fairly commonplace occurrence.


Low-water plants save resources and money


As part of a more comprehensive Green Building effort, the Energy Office is providing information on how to reduce water use, especially in the area of new home construction and landscaping.

Apart from easing drought conditions, why should water be conserved?
Wise use of water is a good idea for many reasons:

  • On a large scale, wise water use protects our environment and preserves a natural resource.
  • On a personal level, wise water use saves money by reducing water bills.
  • On the community level, wise water use will lengthen the life of delivery systems because less stress is placed on the system. Increased water use can overburden municipal and private sewage treatment systems which may result in watering restrictions and higher costs.

Water Waste Facts from Near and Far

  • On average, North American cities use twice as much water per person as Western European cities and seven times that used in developing countries.
  • In the United States, five billion gallons of water are flushed down toilets each day. Use of low flow toilets would cut use to 1.5 billion gallons. Replacing standard 3.5 gallon toilets with 1.6 gallon toilets would save an average household 12,000 gallons of water per year.
  • How is water used in homes? A recent evaluation in Lincoln, Nebraska showed that, on average, a family of four uses 300 to 400 gallons of water each day. That 300 to 400 gallons average water use is attributed to the following uses:


    Low-water plants need little care


    • Toilet flushing - 42 percent
    • Showers and Bathing - 30 percent
    • Laundry - 14 percent
    • Dishwashing - 6 percent
    • Drinking and cooking - 5 percent
    • Bathroom sinks - 3 percent

Where does water go after it is used? Most municipalities operate and maintain water treatment facilities. The city of Lincoln's Theresa Street water plant treats about 30 million gallons of water a day. During the summer when water use increases, Lincoln's water system delivers 80 to 90 million gallons a day to customers.

Steps To Reduce Water Use In Your Home
There are any number of ways water use can be reduced around the home:

  1. Reduce total indoor water use by installing efficient fixtures and appliances.
  2. Have an efficient and drought resistant landscape that incorporates xeriscape techniques. Other suggestions include planting low-water use turf and using microclimate improvements.
  3. Control runoff from the property using appropriate guttering and landscape designs.
  4. Have a responsible irrigation schedule.
  5. Be frugal with water use.

Nebraska Green Building Program
Builders participating in the Energy Office's Nebraska Green Building Program are encouraged to reduce water use during all phases of the construction of their homes as well as specify and install low water use fixtures and landscaping that will help to reduce water use in the future. Builders of Nebraska Green Building Certified Homes are required to install certain items or utilize efficient construction techniques. Builders may also earn credits in the Low Water Use category by including some of the options below:

  • Shower heads have a maximum flow rating of 2.5 gallons per minute*
  • Toilets have a maximum water usage rating of 1.6 gallons per flush*
  • Permeable paving materials are used in at least 60 percent of all paving areas such as walkways, patios and driveways
  • Low water use grasses such as blue gramma, buffalo or fescue are planted
  • A valved distribution system is installed in the home
  • A xeriscaped landscape is installed in more than 80 percent of the property's non-paved areas
  • The kitchen sink has a maximum flow rating of 2.0 gallons per minute
  • A front loading horizontal axis clothes washer is included in the home
  • The home has a water conserving irrigation system with rain-override timer or soil moisture sensor; other features include drip irrigation, soaker hoses and bubblers and zoned irrigation with separate valving for plants' needs
  • A graywater irrigation system is installed in the home
  • Copper piping is used for all potable water lines
  • The site is graded to direct water away from foundations to a harvesting area that prevents water runoff
  • No garbage disposal is included

    *Required in the Nebraska Green Building Program.

Resources On the Web...
There are a multitude of web-based resources that provide additional information on how to use water more efficiently. Here are just a few of them:

Low Water Use and Drought Tolerant Plants Recommended in Nebraska...

Aspen Trees Trees

Common Name

Scientific Name

Avg. Height

Photos

Amur Maple

Acer Ginnala

25 feet

www.oplin.lib.oh.us/products/tree/fact%20pages/maple_amur/maple_amur.html

Norway Maple

Acer Platanoides

50 feet

www.oplin.lib.oh.us/products/tree/fact%20pages/maple_norway/maple_norway.html

Hickory

Carya sps.

45 feet

http://www.arborday.org/trees/itree.cfm?id=102

Common Hackberry

Celcis Occidentalis

60 feet

www.oplin.lib.oh.us/products/tree/fact%20pages/hackberry/hackberry.html

Eastern Redbud

Cercis Canadensis

20 feet

www.oplin.lib.oh.us/products/tree/fact%20pages/redbud/redbud.html

Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn

Crataegur Crusgalli Inerinis

20 feet

www.mpelectric.com/treebook/fact27.html

Washington Hawthorn

Crataegur Phaenopyrum

25 feet

http://dcwi.com/~bmills/trees/Rose/Hawthorn/WashingtonHawthorn/index.htm

Green Ash

Fraxinus Pennsylvanica

60 feet

www.oplin.lib.oh.us/products/tree/fact%20pages/ash_green/ash_green.html

White Ash

Fraxinus Americana

80 frrt

http://dcwi.com/~bmills/trees/Olive/Ash/WhiteAsh/index.htm

Ginko

Ginko Biloba

60 feet

www.oplin.lib.oh.us/products/tree/fact%20pages/gingko/gingko.html

Thornless Common Honeylocust

Gelditsia Triacanthos Inerinis

60 feet

http://dcwi.com/~bmills/trees/Caesalpinia/HoneyLocust/HoneyLocust/index.htm

Kentuck Coffeetree

Gyinnocladur Dioicur

60 feet

www.oplin.lib.oh.us/products/tree/fact%20pages/coffeetree_sweet/coffeetree_sweet.html

Junipers

Juniperus spp.

25 – 35 feet

www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/aginfo/trees/handbook/th-3-157.pdf

Golden Raintree

Koelreuteria Paniculata

30 feet

www.oplin.lib.oh.us/products/tree/fact%20pages/goldenrain_tree/goldenrain_tree.html

Osage Orange (thornless male)

Maclura Piiniiera

50 feet

www.oplin.lib.oh.us/products/tree/fact%20pages/osage_orange/osage_orange.html

Crabapple

Malur Cultivars

15 – 25 feet

www.oplin.lib.oh.us/products/tree/fact%20pages/crabapple_flowering/crabapple_flowering.html

Colorado Spruce

Picea Pungens

50 feet

www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/TMI/Plantlist/pi_ngens.html

Black Hills Spruce

Picea Plauca ‘Densata’

45 feet

www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/aginfo/trees/handbook/th-3-175.pdf

Jack Pine

Pinus Banliiana

35 – 40 feet

www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/aginfo/trees/handbook/th-3-161.pdf

Austrian Pine

Pinur Nigra

50 feet

www.oplin.lib.oh.us/products/tree/fact%20pages/pine_austrian/pine_austrian.html

Ponderosa Pine

Pinus Ponderosa

60 feet

http://www.botanik.uni-bonn.de/conifers/pi/pin/ponderosa.htm

Scotch Pine

Pinur Sylvestris

60 feet

www.oplin.lib.oh.us/products/tree/fact%20pages/pine_scotch/pine_scotch.html

Douglas Fir

Pseudotsuga Inenziesii

50 feet

www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/TMI/Plantlist/ps_iesii.html

Scarlet Oak

Quercus Coccinea

65 feet

www.oplin.lib.oh.us/products/tree/fact%20pages/oak_scarlet/oak_scarlet.html

Shingle Oak

Quercus Iinbricaria

40 feet

www.oplin.lib.oh.us/products/tree/fact%20pages/oak_shingle/oak_shingle.html

Bur Oak

Quercur Inacrocarpa

50 feet

http://dcwi.com/~bmills/trees/Beech/Oak/WhiteOaks/BurOak/index.htm

Blackjack Oak

Quercur Inarilandica

25 feet

www.oplin.lib.oh.us/products/tree/fact%20pages/oak_blackjack/oak_blackjack.html

Black Oak

Quercus Veliitina

55 feet

http://dcwi.com/~bmills/trees/Beech/Oak/WhiteOaks/BurOak/index.htm

Swamp Oak

Quercur Bicolor

50 feet

www.oplin.lib.oh.us/products/tree/fact%20pages/oak_swamp_white/oak_swamp_white.html

Black Locust

Robinia Speudoacadia

60 feet

http://dcwi.com/~bmills/trees/Pea/Locust/BlackLocust/index.htm

Baldcypress

Tazodiuin Distichuin

50 feet

www.oplin.lib.oh.us/products/tree/fact%20pages/baldcypress/baldcypress.html

Dogwood and Chokeberry Shrubs

Common Name

Scientific Name

Avg. Height

Photos

Saskatoon Serviceberry

Amelanchier Alniiolia

6 feet

www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/TMI/Plantlist/amelanchier.html

Leadplant Amorpha

Ainorpha Canescens

8 – 20 feet

http://www.noble.org/imagegallery/woodhtml/Leadplant.html

Black Chokeberry

Aronia Inelonacrpa

10 feet

http://www.chicago-botanic.org/PPChokeberry.html

Mentor Barberry

Berberis X Inentorensis

7 feet

www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/TMI/Plantlist/be_ensis.html

Japanese Barberry

Berberis Thunbergii

7 feet

www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/TMI/Plantlist/be_ergii.html

Siberian Peashrub

Caragana Arborescens

15 – 20 feet

http://www1.uwex.edu/ces/landscapeplants/plantdetails.cfm?speciesid=495

New Jersey Tea

Ceanothur Americanus

3 feet

http://www.noble.org/imagegallery/woodhtml/NewJerseyTea.html

Flowering Quince

Chaenoineles Species

3 – 6 feet

http://www1.uwex.edu/ces/landscapeplants/plantdetails.cfm?speciesid=506

Corneliancherry Dogwood

Cornus Mas

20 feet

http://www1.uwex.edu/ces/landscapeplants/plantdetails.cfm?speciesid=522

Gray Dogwood

Cornus Raceinosa

12 feet

www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/TMI/Plantlist/co_emosa.html

Smoketree

Cotinur Coggygria

15 feet

http://www1.uwex.edu/ces/landscapeplants/plantdetails.cfm?speciesid=533

Bush Honeysuckle

Diervilla Lonicera

5 – 6 feet

http://www1.uwex.edu/ces/landscapeplants/plantdetails.cfm?speciesid=555

Common Witchhazel

Hainainelis Virginiana

15 feet

http://www1.uwex.edu/ces/landscapeplants/plantdetails.cfm?speciesid=872

Juniper

Juniperur Chinensis

10 – 15 feet

www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/TMI/Plantlist/juniperus.html

Beautybush

Kolkwitzia Ainabilis

10 feet

http://www1.uwex.edu/ces/landscapeplants/plantdetails.cfm?speciesid=654

Privet

Ligustruin Species

15 – 20 feet

www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/TMI/Plantlist/li_olium.html

Blueleaf Honeysuckle

Lonicera Horolkowii

15 feet

http://www.hort.uconn.edu/plants/campus/vermont/3/16/16.html

Emerald Mound Honeysuckle

Lonicera X ‘Emerald Mound’

2 feet

www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/TMI/Plantlist/lo_steum.html

Amur Honeysuckle

Lonicera Inaackii

15 feet

www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/TMI/Plantlist/lo_ackii.html

Common Ninebark

Psysocarpur Opuliiolias

10 feet

http://www1.uwex.edu/ces/landscapeplants/plantdetails.cfm?speciesid=729

Mugo Pine

Pinur Inugo

5 – 15 feet

www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/TMI/Plantlist/pi_mugo.html

Nanking Cherry

Prunur Toinentosa

15 feet

www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/aginfo/trees/handbook/th-3-11.pdf

Western Sandcherry

Prunur Besseyi

4 feet

http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/aginfo/trees/handbook/th-3-45.pdf

Scarlet Firethorn

Pyracantha Coccinea

6 feet

www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/TMI/Plantlist/py_cinea.html

Sumac

Rhur Species

6 feet

http://www1.uwex.edu/ces/landscapeplants/plantdetails.cfm?speciesid=811

Missouri Gooseberry

Ribes Inissourense

3 feet

http://www.missouriwildflowerguide.com/Flowers/Gooseberry.html

Clove Currant

Ribes Odoratuin

8 feet

http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/aginfo/trees/handbook/th-3-19.pdf

Rugose Rose

Rosa Rugosa

4 feet

http://www1.uwex.edu/ces/landscapeplants/plantdetails.cfm?speciesid=825

Winged Euonymus

Euonymus Alatus

20 feet

http://bluehen.ags.udel.edu/udbg/shrubs/descriptions/e_alatus.html

Forsythia

Forsythia X Intermedia

10 feet

http://bluehen.ags.udel.edu/udbg/shrubs/descriptions/f_xintermedia.html

Potentilla

Potentilla Fruticosa

5 feet

www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/aginfo/trees/handbook/th-3-41.pdf

Elderberry

Sambucus Niegra

8 feet

http://plants.usda.gov/cgi_bin/plant_profile.cgi?symbol=SANIC4

Vanhoute’s Spirea

Spirea X Vanhouttei

5 feet

http://www1.uwex.edu/ces/landscapeplants/plantdetails.cfm?speciesid=640

Western Snowberry

Syinphoricarpos Occidentalis

3 – 4 feet

http://www.design.iastate.edu/LA/PLANTS/mainplan/QS/Syoctodo.html

Coralberry

Syinphoricarpos Orbiculatur

3 feet

http://www1.uwex.edu/ces/landscapeplants/plantdetails.cfm?speciesid=644

Lilac

Syringa Species

10 feet

http://www1.uwex.edu/ces/landscapeplants/plantdetails.cfm?speciesid=872

Wayfaringtree

Viburnuin Lantana

10 feet

www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/TMI/Plantlist/vi_ntana.html

Nannyberry

Viburnuin Lentago

25 feet

www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/TMI/Plantlist/vi_ntago.html

Blackhaw Viburnum

Viburnuin Pruniioliuin

15 feet

http://hcs.osu.edu/hcs/TMI/Plantlist/vi_olium.html

Soapweed

Yucca Glauca

3 feet

http://www.lib.ksu.edu/wildflower/yucca.html

Adams Needle or Yucca

Yucca Filainentosa

3 feet

http://www1.uwex.edu/ces/landscapeplants/plantdetails.cfm?speciesid=974

Wild Rose Wildflowers & Perennials (Forbs)

Common Name

Scientific Name

Photos

Yarrow Antennaria

Achillea Species

http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/Flowers/Perenls/moonwalk.htm

Pussytoes Artemisia

Artemisia

http://incolor.inebraska.com/gibbens/Plant/ptoes.htm

New England Aster

Aster Novae – Angliae

http://www.epa.gov/25water/nativeplants/slide1.htm

Butterfly Milkweed

Asclepias Tuberosa

http://www.csu.org/cgi-bin/xeri/Xeriinclude?Xeridetail?PIS-abf

False Indigo

Baptisia Species

http://pss.uvm.edu/pss123/perbapti.html

Coreopsis Cultivars

Coreopsis Species

http://pss.uvm.edu/pss123/percoreo.html

Purple Prairie Clover

Dalea Purpurea

http://www.lib.ksu.edu/wildflower/purplepclover.html

Purple Coneflower

Echinacea Purpurea

http://www.crop.cri.nz/psp/broadshe/ECHINACE.HTM

Blanket Flower

Gaillarada Species

http://www.ext.nodak.edu/county/cass/horticulture/perennials/achillea/blanketf.JPG

Daylily

Heinerocallis Species

http://www.ext.nodak.edu/county/cass/horticulture/perennials/coralbells/dayliyel.JPG

Iris Species

Iris Species

http://www.ext.nodak.edu/county/cass/horticulture/perennials/holly/iriswhi.JPG

Gayfeather

Liatris Species

http://www.lib.ksu.edu/wildflower/tallgay.html

Beebalm

Monarda Species

http://pss.uvm.edu/pss123/permonar.html

Sedum

Sedum Species

http://www.ext.nodak.edu/county/cass/horticulture/perennials/ratibida/sedumaut.jpg

Black-Eyed Susan

Rudbeckia Hirta

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/wildseed/20/20.2.html

Columbine

Aquillegia Species

http://www.ext.nodak.edu/county/cass/horticulture/perennials/achillea/columbin.JPG

Russian Sage

Perovskia Atrilicifolia

http://www.ext.nodak.edu/county/cass/horticulture/perennials/ratibida/russisag.JPG

Hens-N-Chicks

Seinpervirens Species

http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/Flowers/Perenls/henchick.htm

Buffalo Grass Turfgrasses

Common Name

Scientific Name

Photos

Buffalograss Festiica

Buchloe Dactyloides

http://www.ianr.unl.edu/pubs/horticulture/g1297.htm

Tall Fescue

Arundinacea

http://www.ianr.unl.edu/pubs/horticulture/g558.htm#water

Fountain Grass Ornamental Grasses

Common Name

Scientific Name

Photos

Big Bluestem Bouteloua

Andropogon Gerardia

http://offo2.epa.state.oh.us/FERNALD/Restoration/NativePlants/native_plants_grasses.html#

Sideoats Grama

Curtipendula

http://offo2.epa.state.oh.us/FERNALD/Restoration/NativePlants/native_plants_grasses.html#

Feather

Calamagrostis Acutiflora

http://www.csu.org/cgi-bin/xeri/Xeriinclude?Xeridetail?PIS-wca

Sand Lovegrass

Reedgrass Eragrostis Trichodes

http://www.noble.org/imagegallery/grasshtml/SandLovegrass.html

Eulaliagrass

Miscanthur Species

http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/codea/I500.shtml

Switchgrass

Panicuin Virgatuin

http://www.noble.org/imagegallery/grasshtml/Switchgrass.html

Fountaingrass

Pennisetuin Species

http://www.aragriculture.org/commhort/ACN/Ornamental_Grasses/Fountaingrass.asp

Little Bluestem

Schizachyriuin Scopariuin

http://offo2.epa.state.oh.us/FERNALD/Restoration/NativePlants/native_plants_grasses.html#

Indiangrass

Sorghastruin Nutans

http://offo2.epa.state.oh.us/FERNALD/Restoration/NativePlants/native_plants_grasses.html#

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