Garden & Greenhouse


Lawn & Garden Water Saving Tips

Posted December 9th, 2007 by Robin Nichols in

 Following a few guidelines can increase your landscape and decrease your water requirements

Lawn care requires more water usage nationwide than almost any other single item around the home, according to national statistics. Officials at Louisville Water Company say their usage figures rise from 130 million gallons of water per day on average to 170 million gallons during the summer months.  The lion’s share of that 40 million gallon increase lies at the feet of gardening. If you can improve water efficiency you can reduce your overall water usage while saving money and it won’t require you to sacrifice your gardening dreams. The best news is it is relatively easy to do.

Whether you use an in-ground irrigation system or water manually with sprinklers or hoses, here’s a few water-saving tips:

  • Throughout most of the growing season average lawns only need watering once or twice a week
  • Water early in the morning when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation. Watering in the evening offers the same benefits but is discouraged because leaving plants and soils moist overnight can lead to fungal and disease problems.
  • Don’t water on windy days.
  • The goal is to make sure your landscape receives ½ – 1” of water per week.  Use a rain gauge to measure the amount of natural or supplemental water it receives.
  • Aim your flow. If you are watering sidewalks or driveways or if your water is running into the street that is money running out of your family budget.
  • Plant grass and plant varieties native to your area.  Local garden centers or county extension agents can direct you to a wide variety of species that are already adapted to your climate.  In the long run they will look better and reduce maintenance time and expense.

Another way to improve watering efficiency is make sure your soils are able to receive the water you apply.  Look for wet-spots or standing water and check randomly throughout your lawn for evidence of compaction or a hard pan layer beneath the surface. You may need to loosen inefficient, compacted, soils to help reduce ponding of water on the soil surface, and balance nutrient levels.

Once the soil is opened and the hard pan layer is penetrated by roots, water is allowed to flow easily through the entire soil profile; draining easily during wet seasons and allowing water to percolate freely to the root zone during times of drought. By opening up the soil you can eliminate the occurrence of roots bound in the upper 2-3 inches so they are able to reach the water when the rains shut off in mid-summer. With more water moving to the roots, less supplemental water is needed to maintain vitality in your lawns, gardens, or flower beds.

Price Allan is a free lance writer.

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