WATER EFFICIENT PROGRAMS
When we were young, running through the sprinklers, using the hose for fun and washing the cars, were summer past times that all used water. In California, the increased population, multi -family construction and the ever present threat of drought have made water a prized commodity.
Blame it on global warming, water shortages, agricultural needs; the result is the same. It is time to be ‘water wise’!
We have millions of dollars invested in our landscapes and parks. These assets are important to preserve. Water efficient gardening is NOW! Here are some tips to help maintain your gardens while conserving water, decreasing maintenance, lower water bills and establishing stronger plants.
1. Take the time to research water efficient plants. There are many, many attractive plants that fill the bill. If you prefer, hire a knowledgeable landscape designer who is versed in the thousands of choices that are available.
2. When designing your new garden, group plants according to their fertilizing, sun tolerance and watering needs.
3. Use separate valves for separate plant groupings so that you have control over different watering needs.
4. Install a weather sensor on your irrigation clock so that it does not run if it is raining.
5. Monthly; inspect your irrigation system for leaks and broken heads.
6. Plant new plants in the early fall, when rainfall is expected, or early spring so that they can get established before the heat.
7. Mow lawns higher and less often. In winter, do not mow if the lawns are wet. The wheels will leave unsightly trenches and destroy lawn.
8. Irrigate lawns as needed. Higher lawns need less water and are more deeply rooted. The lawn itself will help shade the roots.
9. Water plants in the early morning so they are dry by sundown. Never water in the late afternoon or evening as this increases the likelihood for fungus and molds.
10. Fertilize with appropriate fertilizers for the types of plants. Not all plants want a general fertilizer from the big box stores. Consult your landscape designer or nurseryman NOT your ‘mow and blow’!
11. Have your garden on a pruning and feeding schedule with someone who understands how to prune for form and health. Pruning keeps plants healthy and less water dependent. Make sure that the pruner is knowledgeable and does not understand the term ‘pruning’ to mean ‘make it smaller’. Ask how many classes they have taken to perfect their art.
12. Snail bait with an animal friendly bait but bait weekly to keep the new crop of snails under control. Irrigation water may deactivate snail bait so be vigilant.
13. Adjust irrigation heads so water hits the gardens and NOT the driveway and sidewalk.
14. Weed, weed, weed
15. Mulch to conserve moisture and to keep down weeds.
16. Build basins around new shrubs and trees for the first year and then remove them so water does not pool around the crowns of the plants.
Being ‘Water Wise’ saves money, is ecological sound and conserves precious water.