Conservative Gardening-Let's Get Started Saving H20
May 01, 2014
Water is a scarce resource. As a environment buff, haven’t you ever found yourself turning off running taps even those you come across in a property that isn’t your own? If so, good, that is the way to go! Our survival is dependent on abundance of water, yet most of us take this resource for granted. Actually, most people often waste it through inefficient outdoor watering practices: your garden doesn’t need that much water. The situation is so dire that some states have banned the use of some inefficient watering tools such as hoses. Please save this scarce resource by regularly following the tips outlined below;
Facts about Water Wastage during Lawn Watering
- One-third of water used by residential households in the US, alone, equals seven billion gallons per day, goes towards watering lawns and landscaping. Extraordinarily huge waste, right?
- Lawns outstrip corn by almost three times as the largest irrigated crop in the United States, according to Census data by NASA.
- The average family uses about 10,000 gallons to water their lawns and gardens annually, of that amount, half is wasted mainly due to use of inefficient irrigation systems which spray tiny water drops in the air that evaporate even before they reach the plant roots. So, why are you paying for water that isn’t helping anyone? Think about this.
Factors that Determine the Extent of Watering
- Like every other young living thing, including us human beings, young gardens need plenty of water in order to facilitate establishment of healthy roots. So, quit scanning the skies hoping to find a faint sign that rains are on the way to help you cut down your water bill.
- Water them until they are sufficiently strong to survive on moderate amounts of water.
- As the garden gets older, the plants may have weaker root systems that can barely absorb water. Therefore, water them regularly, or repeat the cycle again by replanting the lawn or garden with younger plants.
Type of Soil
Have you checked your soil of late? If not, please do, since absorption and retention of moisture varies from one type of soil to another.
- Sand soil leaks like a sieve due to its large particles; hence it is a waste of time to plant anything on it.
- Clay soil absorbs water slowly and has a high retention capacity. If your lawn has this soil, water your plant sparsely to avoid wasteful runoffs.
- On the other hand, loam soil is average on both absorption and retention, thus it is the ideal soil for most plants and grass.
Type of Plants and Grass
Different plants have different moisture requirements and hence it is important to establish the ideal moisture content for plants in your garden and the grass in your lawn as well. Following are some creative tips to help water your lawn or gardens with less water;
- Planning your garden and lawn efficiently ensures less water is used. Try using the Xeriscape model when designing your lawn and garden. This concept calls for creative landscaping and also places heavy emphasis on planning and design, plant selection as well as prudent maintenance of the plants.
- Replace your Watering System with an Efficient One
- Select a system that ensures water is applied slowly and evenly. Use a hose-end sprinkler for small lawns, and low-volume and low-angle sprinklers for an in-ground irrigation system. Angle heads should be as low as possible so as to reduce evaporation. Stay alert so that you don’t overwater or the pressure gets too high forming fog or fine mist in the process.
- Before watering, it’s important to feel the soil moisture content at the zone where most roots are concentrated. This will tell you if there is any need for further watering.
- Too much water can cause the plant leaves to turn brown or yellowish due to water stress.
- Ensure that you water at the right time and when the moisture level of the soil is extremely low.
Go for Native Plants
- Why plant grass that is suitable for the highlands in a dry locality? Doesn’t make sense, doesn’t it?
- Visit your local botanist to find out the varieties of plants and grass that are best suited for that particular climate.
Keep it Early
- The best time to water your garden is early in the morning before the sun rises. This helps reduce evaporation and scorching of leaves by the blazing hot sun.
- Additionally, water the plants when the wind is calm to reduce wind drift and evaporation associated with strong winds.
- Covering your plants does not only reduce evaporation of water from the soil. Plants also hate competition from the nasty weeds, and mulching is one way you can keep these “scavengers” away.
- Group plants with similar water requirements should to ensure that water is used efficiently.
- Therefore, plants with different water intake requirements should be isolated and grouped with other similar plants. Doing so (i.e. grouping similar plants) helps reduce loss of moisture and competition for water by plants with different water requirements
- Particularly, lawns should be aerated once every year.
- After aeration, add a layer of organic manure evenly for top dressing. This will improve the soil structure and leading to better water penetration, retention and aeration.
- You may install an efficient irrigation system, such as drip irrigation as opposed to sprinklers, but this won’t help much unless you maintain it regularly. Pipes can leak or burst, clogging up the soil and damaging the plants.
- In the summer, most municipalities in both Canada and US experience water shortages, which usually force them to put in place tight water restrictions to minimize waste. This is detrimental to innocent users since the rules affect everyone. Therefore, be a good neighbor and start by conserving the little water that is available to you.
- You can still have your lush looking healthy green without turning on the sprinkler all night. Water sustains life, so please play your part in conserving this scarce resource.
Summer is just beginning so let's all join together and see how much water we can save - remember....small changes add up to big savings!