As the temperatures rise during the summer months, our consumption of water increases dramatically. We swim in pools, water our lawns, wash our cars, and cool off with sprinklers. Listed below are some outdoor and indoor water conservation ideas that are simple and easy to follow. Let’s all do our part and practice year-round wise water use.
Prioritize your summertime watering needs outdoors
Now is a great time for you to prioritize the watering needs of all ourdoor plants and trees. Take the time to determine which area of your yard needs the most water.
Newly planted trees, shrubs, lawns
Newly planted trees, shrubs, and lawns should receive the first priority when it comes to determining the need for water. While most plans and bushes are not planted until spring, those planted the previous year may not have had time to develop extensive root systems. It is best to water early in the morning when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest. This reduces losses from evaporation. Mulching also reduces losses from evaporation and keeps the soil and roots cool. Remember that a slow trickle from your hose is the most effective method for absorption; watering with a hose at full strength usually results in run-off.
Keep weeds out of flower and vegetable gardens
Most flower and vegetable gardens will require watering to stay productive. Mulching can help retain additional moisture in the soil and around the roots. Most well established trees and shrubs can withstand a prolonged period without rain or watering. Far more plans die from over-watering than under-watering. For many garden plants, the best way to know if plants need water is to let your finger be the guide. Dig down several inches near the base of the plant. If the soil is bone dry, that’s an indication that you need to water. Also, whenthe plan begins to show signs of wilting, especially in the morning, it probably needs water.
Capture and recycle rainwater or redirct water from downspouts
Place rain barrels or buckets beneath your downspouts. 1,000 sq. ft. of roof surface will collect 420 gallons of water in every inch of rainfall. You can use rainwater for outdoor plants and trees or to wash your car.
Channel storm water across lawns and into garden beds away from your house; consider “rainscaping” by establishing a watershed-friendly garden, which will use snowmelt or stormwater to thrive and create beauty around your home.
Watering your lawn
Don’t over-water your lawn. As a general rule, your lawn only needs one inch of water every 5 to 7 days. Try placing a small empty tuna can near your sprinkler system; this will help you determine when to turn the sprinkler off. When the can is full, you have watered approximately one inch. Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speeds are the lowest. This reduces losses from evaporation.