Landscaping to Conserve Water
If you can determine how much water your plants actually need, then you won't over-water them and waste water.
- Use a trowel, shovel, or soil probe to examine soil moisture depth. If the top two to three inches of soil are dry, it's time to water.
- Set a kitchen timer when using the hose as a reminder to turn it off. A running hose can discharge up to 10 gallons per minute.
- Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
- Minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter.
- Timing is everything when it comes to irrigation. Learn how to set your controller properly.
- Look for WaterSense® labeled irrigation controllers.
- Learn how to shut off your automatic watering system in case of malfunctions or rain.
- Apply water only as fast as the soil can absorb it.
- If water runs off your lawn easily, split your watering time into shorter periods to allow for better absorption.
- Water only when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.
- Signs of overwatering: Leaves turn lighter shades of green or yellow, young shoots wilt, and sometimes algae or fungi grow.
- Adjust your watering schedule each month to match seasonal weather conditions and landscape requirements.
- Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so your system won't run when it's raining.
- Water dry spot by hand instead of running the whole irrigation system longer.
- Don't water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.
- Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots, where it's needed.
- Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
- Use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller drops and mist often evaporate before hitting the ground.
- Use a rain barrel to harvest rainwater from gutters for watering gardens and landscapes.
- For hanging baskets, planters and pots, put ice cubes on top of the soil to give your plants a cool drink of water without overflow.
- Remember to periodically check your sprinkler system valves for leaks, and to keep sprinkler heads in good shape.
- Spring is a great time to give your irrigation system a checkup to ensure it's working efficiently.
- Pruning properly can help your plants use water more efficiently.