June 14, 2016

Save water this summer with these tips for your lawn and garden

Summer. It’s a time of year most of us look forward to: vacations, no school, pretty scenery. But as the hot days drag on and the rain begins to become elusive, it’s also a dry time of year.

During the summer, every drop counts. Experts estimate that up to 50 percent of the water used for outdoor needs during the warmest months is not necessary to maintain a healthy landscape. Everyone should enjoy their summers but should also be mindful of conservation. Not only is it good for the environment to save water, but it’s good for your wallet.


Here are 12 tips for your summer water use.


Only water when needed.
Just because it hasn’t rained in a while doesn’t mean you necessarily need to drag the hose out. Evaluate your yard/plant/tree needs before doing so. Depending on the weather and the types of plants, you may find that you only need to water once or twice a week, and everything may not need to be watered every time you water.

Water early in the morning or late in the day.
Not only is this tip necessary for maintaining healthy plants, which prefer to be watered when the sun is not at its hottest, but water evaporates less when the sun is less intense. Watering in the morning (when evaporation is actually at its lowest) or the evening when the sun has gone down means you need less water for your plants because it isn’t evaporating as quickly.

Set your mower higher.
Sure, your close-cropped lawn will look really good for a few days, but it’s also more susceptible to burnout, weeds, insects and disease when it’s less than 2 inches high. And watering it to revive it won’t help much. The best bet is to always mow at 2.5 or 3.5 inches, depending on the time of year.

Watch what you’re watering.
If you’re using sprinklers, keep an eye on them to make sure they’re not wasting water by hitting pavement, the house or other unwanted areas. Likewise, make sure your soaker hoses are set on straight, level paths to make sure water isn’t just running off into unneeded areas. Also pay attention to run times; sprinklers and soaker hoses don’t need to run as long or as frequently in shaded areas.

Keep an eye on the weather.
If the forecast calls for rain, turn your sprinkler system off ahead of time. You can also install a rain sensor that will do this automatically.

Check for leaks and breaks.
You should do periodic walkthroughs of your landscaped areas to make sure pipes are in good condition. Water leaks, no matter how small, are a big deal and really add up over time.

Make use of rainwater.
Another important reason to watch the weather is because you can then set out barrels or other containers to catch rainwater when downpours are in the forecast. You can then use that water on plants in covered areas or when things get dry again. Just make sure to use mosquito-proof rain barrels or take other measures to keep the water from stagnating and to keep insects away.

Sweep, don’t spray.
Sure it’s easier to use a hose to clear patios, driveways, decks and sidewalks of debris, but it’s also really wasteful. Use a broom instead.

Use drought-resistance species.
Some plants tolerate heat and lack of water better than others, and these are the varieties you should plant—especially in the sunniest spots. Also, plants that are native to the region have the benefit of being adapted to local conditions and have developed the ability to thrive within them. Native plants and heat-resistant plants will need both less watering and maintenance.

Let water do double duty.
Fido need a bath? No problem—take him outside and bathe him near the plants that also need a drink of water.

Mulch your plants.
Although over-mulching can stress plants, adding a couple of inches helps retain moisture and prevent weeds. Mulching can be a time investment when putting it around your plants, but it pays off in the work it eliminates you—and the water it saves—later in the season.

Wash cars wisely.
Use a bucket of soapy water instead of a constantly running hose. And if you are going to a carwash, look for one that recycles their water.




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