Summers are getting hotter all across the country, which means our gardens need more water to flourish. Rather than lower the water table and raise your water bill, follow these tips to reduce and control the amount of water you use.
Use the right stuff: Forget garden hoses and nozzles, which lose water through runoff and evaporation. Use soaker hoses and sprinkler wands for greatest efficiency.
Avoid overwatering: Most perennial plants and shrubs need only a couple of inches of water per week. Annuals may require a bit more. If you see plants beginning to wilt, moisten but don’t flood the soil around them.
Water soil, not leaves: Plants absorb water through their roots. Water sprayed on leaves evaporates and is lost.
Mulch carefully: Mulch helps to keep water from evaporating, but it can also become crusty and keep water out. Keep mulched areas receptive by breaking up crusts with a rake.
Check soil moisture: Poke a straight screwdriver or stick into soil to check moisture levels. If soil is dry, you’ll encounter resistance.
Water when it’s cool: Watering during the hottest part of the day causes more water to evaporate before it soaks into the soil. Water in the early morning or late evening for best moisture retention.
Water thoroughly but not so often: Giving soil more water at longer intervals does more good than frequent light watering.
Following these best practices will keep both your garden and your water bill under control.