Outdoor water use makes up the largest portion of additional summer water use. To help you weather the summer water-wisely, below are some of our top tips for keeping a healthy water-efficient landscape (and hopefully, saving a little money in the process).
1. Water deeply but infrequently - One or two deep waterings is better for plants than several shallow ones
A CAUTION WITH SOAKER HOSES!
2. Water at the roots - This works best with hand watering, water wands, or installing a drip irrigation or soaker hose system.
3. Water at the right time - Early am is best, or after the sun has gone down to minimize water lost to evaporation.
4. Water according to soil needs - Your soil composition is key to knowing how much to water to keep plants healthy. Soil mixed with a lot of sand won't hold water in as long as "thicker" soil types.
Test soil a few inches down and water only when dry at plant root zone. If soil is very dry, short, repeated watering cycles will help with absorption and prevent runoff better than longer waterings.
*BONUS TIP: HEALTHY SOIL MAKES HEALTHY PLANTS! Adding compost to soil will increase water retention, and decrease the amount of watering needed!
5. Water according to plant needs - Consider plant types, soil type, and sun/shade exposure to know how much to water. Shady spots can hold moisture longer; native plants (once established) generally need less water.
6. Mulch to keep moisture in - A 2" layer of mulch on planting beds will help retain moisture longer. Bonus: less weeding!
7. Watch the weather - Use a rain sensor or turn off automatic sprinkler systems ahead of time if rain is in the forecast. Make sure to adjust your watering controls with the seasons.
NUD customers can get a $100 rebate when you install a WaterSense certified irrigation timer.
Find rebate info at www.savingwater.org/
8. Mow higher for a healthy lawn - Setting mower above 2" helps keep in moisture and protect roots from heat and burnout.
*HOW MUCH WATER DO LAWNS NEED? 1" per week, spread out over 2-3 waterings is sufficient. You can use a tuna can to help measure your sprinkler output - check how long it takes to fill it. Or, if you choose to "go golden" for the hot summer, your lawn only needs 1" per month to keep roots going.
9. Avoid planting in summer - New plants need more water initially, so their best start is during fall or spring rains.
10. When planting, consider native plants and plants specially designed for YOUR unique landscape conditions. Maintenance needs are lower when tailor-scaped to your soil and climate. This "Right Plant Right Place" guide can help.
11. Monitor leaks - Little leaks turn into BIG BILLS! Walk through your landscape regularly to make sure your irrigation pipes are in good order, and check your hose connections for drips.
Find more resources and expert tips for smart planting, wise watering, and natural yard care at www.savingwater.org.
Have other tips? Share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.