Monday, June 04, 2012
Reduce Your Outdoor Water Usage
I live in the south where summers are often incredibly hot and dry. Unfortunately, hot and dry is really not all that good for my garden and landscaping! In order to keep my plants from drying up, I have learned several ways to get the most out of my outdoor watering. This helps keep my landscaping healthy without breaking the bank when my water bill comes. And, since water is definitely a limited resource, conserving it is an important part of living an eco-friendly lifestyle! Here are a few tips to help you reduce your outdoor water usage during the heat of summer!
1. Choose the right plants. You should choose plants that are best suited to your climate. Buying grasses designed for cool climates when you live in Texas will not make for a happy lawn. Consider native species when designing your landscaping. Check out the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center for information on plants native to your particular area.
2. Know how and when to water. You do not want to water your plants when the sun is at its hottest since much of it will be lost to evaporation instead of absorbed by your plants. You should be watering deeply instead of doing frequent, shallow watering to encourage deep root formation.
3. Mulch, Mulch, Mulch! This is one of the most important aspects of keeping the water you apply to your plants in the soil instead of evaporating into the air! Mulching also reduces weed growth and weeds competing with your plants for water. You can use woodchips, pine straw, shredded newspaper, or many other types of materials. There are even mulches made out of recycled rubber!
4. Consider skipping the lawn completely. While grass is great for dogs to run on and kids to play in, it really isn't very environmentally friendly. Check out Earth Easy for information on Xeriscaping (basically, a method of landscape design that minimizes water use). You can design your yard completely without grass and still have a beautiful yard!
5. Invest in an irrigation system. This is a bit of an investment but if you are doing some major landscaping it might be worth investigating. Drip irrigation systems are much more effective than watering with a sprinkler system since the water is delivered to the root system slowly so the plants have time to absorb it.
What do you like about gardening? Do you have any other ideas to help save on outdoor water usage?
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