Water conservation should be everyone's concern.
With proper watering, the homeowner saves time and money; soil conditions for plants to grow are improved; the amount of fertilizer needed is decreased (through control of leaching out); disease and weed problems are lessened; and the lawn and garden are improved.
Here are some tips for reducing water waste:
- Avoid surface runoff. Too much water intended for the lawn or garden actually is flowing into street gutters and storm drains. Do not apply water faster than the soil can take it up.
- Avoid frequent, shallow watering. Allow for a drying-out period between good, deep waterings to encourage deep root growth.
- Apply water only when it is actually needed and not by the calender or clock. Too much water will cause water logging, forcing air out of the soil. Air is vitally needed by plant roots to survive.
- Water uniformly. Do not miss sections.
- Water when the air is still. Generally, the best time for watering is early in the morning when humidity is higher and temperatures are usually lower. With early morning watering, water has time to soak into the ground before the heat of the day. Watering late in the evening tends to promote disease because excessive moisture remains on leaves.
- If water supply is critical, save a valuable tree or shrub and let the grass go. A healthy lawn with deep root systems can be allowed to wilt and turn almost brown without too much danger. It will come back and green up with the first rains.
- Select hardy drought-resistant lawn grasses and trees and shrubs.
- Improve your soil.
- Apply mulch to flower and vegetable gardens. Remove the grass from around newly planted trees and shrubs and apply a mulch. Not only does this conserve moisture, it prevents string trimmer damage to the tree bark.
- Do not drive or walk unnecessarily over wet soils. Wet soil compacts easily.
- Repair leaky valves and other watering equipment that leak or waste water.
-- The Garden Calendar is sponsored by the Douglas County Extension Service, and is written this week by Dennis D. Bejot, county Extension director. For more information, call the Master Gardener Hot Line at 843-7058 between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.