Northwood News ♦ June 2012
More Tips to Save Water, This Time for Summer
- Plant in the fall when conditions are cooler and rainfall is more plentiful.
- Spreading a layer of organic mulch or finished compost around plants retains moisture.
- Use a trowel, shovel, or soil probe to examine soil moisture depth. If the top two to three inches of soil are moist, there’s no need to water.
- Collect water from your roof to water your garden.
- Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
- Group plants with the same watering needs together to avoid overwatering some while underwatering others.
- Use a layer of organic material on the surface of your planting beds to minimize weed growth that competes for water.
- Use a minimum amount of organic or slow release fertilizer to promote a healthy and drought-tolerant landscape.
- Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a low-water-use plant.
- Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so your system won’t run when it’s raining.
- Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots where it’s needed.
- Consult with your local nursery for information on plant selection and placement for optimum outdoor water savings.
- Direct water from rain gutters and HVAC systems toward water-loving plants in the landscape.
- Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
For Your Lawn
- Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard by planting shrubs and ground covers appropriate to our region.
- Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
- Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.
- Choose shrubs and groundcovers instead of turf for hard-to-water areas such as steep slopes and isolated strips.
- Use sprinklers for large areas of grass. Water small patches by hand to avoid waste.
- Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. A taller lawn shades roots and holds soil moisture better than if it is closely clipped.
- Remember to check your sprinkler system valves periodically for leaks and keep the sprinkler heads in good shape.
- Don’t water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.
- To decrease water from being wasted on sloping lawns, apply water for five minutes and then repeat two to three times.
- Learn how to shut off your automatic watering system in case it malfunctions or you get an unexpected rain.
- Set a kitchen timer when watering your lawn or garden to remind you when to stop. A running hose can discharge up to 10 gallons a minute.
- If installing a lawn, select a turf mix or blend that matches your climate and site conditions.
- When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it the most.
- Let your lawn go dormant during the summer. Dormant grass only needs to be watered every three weeks, or less if it rains.
If You Have a Pool, Spa, or Fountain
- Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around your pumps.
- When backflushing your pool, use the water on your landscaping.
- If you have an automatic refilling device, check your pool periodically for leaks.
- Use a grease pencil to mark the water level of your pool at the skimmer. Check the mark 24 hours later to see if you have a leak.
- Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation than those spraying water into the air.
- Make sure your swimming pools, fountains, and ponds are equipped with recirculating pumps.
- Use ice left in your cup or accidentally dropped to water a plant.
- Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle to cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
- Don’t use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety.
- Fix that leaky faucet!
- Teach your children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk.
- Don’t forget to check outdoor faucets, sprinklers, and hoses for leaks.
- For cold drinks, keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap.
- Walkways and patios provide space that doesn’t ever need to be watered and can add value to your property.
- Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
- Wash your car on the lawn, and you’ll water your lawn at the same time.
- Use a hose nozzle or turn off the water while you wash your car.
[with many more suggestions that wouldn’t fit here]: