Twenty Tips for a Water Wise Garden
Appreciating the economic, environmental and psychological benefits of plants is easy. Just imagine a world without them. These assets, and the time and money already invested in landscape, are reasons enough to preserve them.
Water Wise gardening has advantages of its own: stronger plants, less maintenance, lowered water bills and decreased demand on natural resources. Even in drought-free conditions, these principles make good gardening sense.
- Group plants according to water requirements to avoid over-or-under-watering.
- Use plants that need less water, plenty of attractive varieties meet this definition.
- Install new plants when reliable rainfall is expected. In many regions, fall is the best time to plant.
- Build basins around shrubs and trees to limit runoff.
- Mulch to reduce moisture evaporation
- Fertilize properly-too much stimulates thirsty new growth
- Pruning keeps plants strong and less water dependant.
- Prioritize watering. New plants need more frequent watering than established trees and shrubs.
- Irrigate lawns only when needed. If grass springs back up after you walk on it, it doesn’t need water. Or, let your lawn go dormant; most grasses rebounds when rains return.
- Mow higher and less often. Longer leaf surfaces encourage deeper rooting and shade roots. Mowing puts grass under additional stress that requires more water.
- Water plants when the soil is dry, not before.
- Use a spring-loaded hose spray or hose-end turn-off device.
- Adjust sprinklers so water reaches lawns and gardens, not pavement.
- Inspect sprinkler system for leaks.
- Time for watering. Water early to decrease evaporation. Avoid windy days for the same reason.
- Water infrequently, deeply, and thoroughly. This stops wasteful runoff and encourages deeper root development. Plants with deep roots develop greater tolerance for dry spells.
- Install a drip irrigation system. You’ll spend up to 60 percent of the water used by sprinklers.
- Move container plants to shady areas. Watering them over the root area of a tree puts excess water to good use.
- Remove weeds. Weeds rob water and nutrients from valuable plants.
- Watch the weather. Don’t irrigate if rain is predicted. Skip at least one watering after a good rain, Cut back watering times and frequencies in cool and/or humid weather.