Did you know that in the Summer, outdoor water use at homes increases from 10-50 percent? This can lead to water shortages in some areas of the United States, as well as a big increase in your monthly water bill. Don't despair though, there are many easy ways to cut your water use.
- Don't water your soil in your garden or lawn until it's dry. You can test for dryness by digging your finger beneath the soil surface. If the soil is dry at one-and-a-half inches deep, it's time to water.
- You can reduce water needs for your lawn by raising the lawnmower's blade level so grass is cut at two to three inches or higher. Longer grass needs less water, since it shades the plants' roots, which in turn encourage deeper growth.
- Water early in the morning, when your lawn or garden will retain the most water.
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- For garden plants that need both lots of sun and lots of water, clump these plants together in a growing area, so you can water them all at once.
- Better yet, use a low-water-use plant. There are a lot of plants that don't require a lot of water, and xeriscaping, which uses plants like succulents or cacti, is an even smarter low-water-use bet.
- Mulching plants will help reduce water needs. Flowers, trees, and shrubs should be mulched with pine bark mulch. Vegetables can be mulched with black-and-white newspaper, salt marsh hay, or landscape fabric.
- Use a drip irrigation system or soaker hose in gardens that need the most water. These types of irrigation systems can save 30-70 percent of the water that is used by overhead sprinkler systems.
- Use rainbarrels around your house to collect rain water from downspouts. This water can then be saved and used throughout the Summer for your garden-watering needs.
- If you water by hand, don't water foliage, but water at the base of the plants, where the plants will absorb the most water.
- For any potted plants, make sure that they have a saucer under their container to catch extra water.