The Hailey City Council voted Monday to adopt a resolution that lays out voluntary guidelines for landscape practices that prioritize water conservation.

    Mayor Fritz Haemmerle said he learned some things reading the guidelines that would be of benefit to him personally.

    “I won’t be putting my hose on at the base of my trees anymore,” he said.

     The guidelines for planting and irrigation practices were developed by the Wood River Land Trust with help from Blaine County and valley cities and industry representatives.

    In addition to helping conserve water, the guidelines can be cited when applying for state, federal and private grants involving water conservation.

     The guidelines describe best practices for soil, mulches, irrigation efficiencies and choice of plantings that have already been implemented throughout much of the arid West.

    The Hailey Tree Committee made recommended changes to the document before it was adopted, including details on the definitions of compost, an expansion of a list of recommended plant species and general advice for irrigation.

    “It is important for people to understand that watering for longer periods at infrequent intervals is key for reducing water and becoming closer to meeting the water needs of many landscape plants,” a memo from the Tree Committee states.

    For the mayor’s purposes, the guidelines call for deep watering of mature trees once or twice per month at a distance from the trunk equal to the circumference of the tree canopy. Young trees need five gallons of water two to four times each week, until they are one year old.

    The guidelines recommend that soils in new developments be 25 percent compost, which the authors state would increase water retention four-fold. Mulching of the surface of flower beds and other planted areas would decrease evapotranspiration and also reduce water consumption.

    The original guidelines recommended that residents use native or drought-tolerant turf species, and that 30 percent of plants be “low-water use” species.

    “The selection of plants that will thrive in this valley is slim,” the Tree Committee memo states. “When limiting that list more, the risk of monocultures increases. This scenario is ideal for insect and disease infestations.”

    In other Hailey news:

  • The city has engaged an engineering firm to begin scope-of-work negotiations that will produce plans for the redevelopment of River Street by February 2020. The work is scheduled to commence in 2023 or 2024.
  • The City Council thanked the Wood River chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness for recent fundraising efforts and posed for a picture supporting the nonprofit’s “No Stigma” campaign.

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