Tag Archives: saving water

Eco-Friendly Lawncare Tips and Landscaping Ideas

landscaping

Maintaining a manicured lawn — mowing, watering, fertilizing — can quickly monopolize precious summer time. Why not consider the alternatives?

Whether you want to be savvier with your resources or eliminate the monotonous patch of green altogether, here are the top tips for achieving a low-maintenance lawn.

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Smart Lawn Care

If you’re not ready to give up your grass, make sure you’re caring for it efficiently.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is cutting their lawn the wrong height, said Bob Malgieri, manager of lawn care and tree shrub division at Borst Landscape and Design in Allendale, N.J. “Mainly they cut it too short,” he said. “When it’s cut too short, the root system and soil are exposed to the sun. You get more weeds and the lawn basically just doesn’t do well, as opposed to keeping it to 21/2 to 3 inches.”

To effectively hydrate a lawn, the water must be absorbed by the grass root system. Frequent, shallow waterings are not effective, and watering during the daytime when the sunlight can evaporate the water can waste a lot of the precious resource. Malgieri recommends an irrigation system for the best results.

“You’ll never be able to water well by hand and get it consistently throughout the lawn,” Malgieri said. Irrigation systems deliver a controlled amount of water that ensures coverage across the entire lawn.

Another big mistake is to over-fertilize the lawn. Simply leaving clippings on the lawn is a great way to naturally fertilize grass. “It’s the most organic thing you can do, as long as you have a mower that mulches the clippings,” Malgieri said. “There are a lot of nutrients in those clippings. You’re actually feeding your lawn as you’re cutting it.”

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San Diego water officials are calling on residents to limit irrigation during cooler months, to help maintain water supplies sapped by a hot, dry year.

By adjusting sprinklers, checking for leaks or installing weather-based irrigation controllers, residents can reduce winter watering.

A heat wave in August and September capped a dry 12-month period during which rainfall was down 25 percent, the San Diego County Water Authority reported. Residents used 7 percent more water last month than they did during the same time last year.

Key California reservoirs measured an average of 63 percent full at the end of September, down from 88 percent from a year earlier, after what water officials called the third-driest year since 1963.

Winter rain and snow won’t fully replenish supplies to Southern California, said water officials, who expect a weak El Niño to leave the region’s water sources in Northern California and the Colorado River Basin relatively dry.

Residents can cut outdoor water use by turning off irrigation systems when rainstorms are predicted and leaving them off for at least a week after significant rainfall.

The city of San Diego and other agencies offer services to help residents cut their outdoor water use, which makes up more than half of water consumption for most Southern California households.

Residents can get help evaluating their irrigation systems through San Diego’s online Watering Calculator at apps.sandiego.gov/landcalc/.

Residents and businesses also may request a free WaterSmart Checkup, which offers tips on improving water efficiency, such as fixing leaks, upgrading hardware and swapping out grass for drought-tolerant plants. Details are available at www.20gallonchallenge.com/programs.html.

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Seven Steps to Make Every Drop of Water Count In The Garden

That fickle rainfall comes and goes as it sees fit. As demands on our water supply increase (and so do the costs), we need to do everything we can to be as efficient as possible with the watering of our lawns and gardens. Here are some ways to make every drop count.

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Planning and design: Begin by creating a master plan. You can do this yourself or hire a landscape professional. A thoughtful design allows you to install a landscape in phases and avoid costly mistakes.

Compost and cultivate: Soil improvements are very important to water-efficient landscaping. By adding organic soil amendments, such as compost or peat moss, you improve the absorption and water-holding capabilities of the soil and provide additional nutrients for plants.

Create functional turf areas: Grass requires more water and maintenance than other plants. So it’s important to evaluate your lawn to see where grass is practical and functional or whether it can be replaced with less-thirsty alternatives.

The right plant in the right place: Different plants need different amounts of water and sun/shade to survive. Place plants with similar light and water needs together to maximize your water efficiency.

Water wisely: The greatest waste of water is too much, too often. Learn to recognize signs of water deficiency, such as drooping or falling leaves and lack of new growth or vigor.

The use of mulches: Mulches increase the soil’s ability to store water by covering and cooling the soil, thereby minimizing evaporation.

Keep up the maintenance: Keep up on routine maintenance for both plants and lawn. Remember, weeds compete with plants for water and nutrients.

by The Oregonian

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