by Dan Carney
July is a peak month for water use—and water bills—due to increased irrigation. To help get out the word about new irrigation technologies and smart practices, MMWD has proclaimed July “Smart Irrigation Month.” Incorporating even a few of these “water smart” tips can help you save water this summer and throughout the year. Start out with the “easy” changes and you’ll find it’s a breeze to work your way up to the more advanced practices—and realize greater water savings.
- Stop overwatering. Up to 80 percent of all plant problems are related to incorrect watering, so do a little reading or ask your local nursery about how much water your plants really need.
- Water gardens infrequently, but deeply, in order to wet a plant’s entire root zone and encourage healthy development of deep roots to help plants resist wind and harsh weather.
- Cut watering times 2 to 5 minutes for every 10 minutes you water and still have a healthy landscape. Even better, subscribe to MMWD’s free online weekly watering schedule for guidance on how many minutes you need to water to replace lost soil moisture.
- Water in the early morning when it’s cool and the wind is calm to reduce evaporation.
- Don’t water the sidewalk. Adjust sprinkler heads so that they water plants, not pavement. Besides saving water, you’ll also be preventing runoff that can pollute our creeks and the Bay.
- Leave clippings on the lawn after mowing—it’s a natural fertilizer, which means your grass will be healthier without applying extra fertilizer and water.
- Go native. When purchasing new plants, choose California natives or plants adapted to a Mediterranean climate. They are better suited to our dry summers and thrive with less water.
- If it’s broke, fix it. Check for leaks, pipe breaks, or clogged sprinklers and replace or repair if necessary.
Ready to take your “water smart” garden to the next level? Stay tuned for more tips in my next post . . .