Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Smart Irrigation Month Planting Tips

July is the Irrigation Association's Smart Irrigation Month. Irrigation professionals across the country are working to educate their customers and prospective customers on how to care for their yards in a water-use savvy manner. From years of research in water conservation and field experience the Irrigation Association has created a list of tips on how to conserve water in your landscape. I will post it here in it's entirety:

Plant Right
 It’s easy to save water and reduce your utility bills with simple changes to your landscaping and gardening routine.
  • Landscape to suit your lot. Choose grass or plants that have low water requirements and will thrive in your local climate. Consider your lot’s exact features, including sun and shade, dry and damp areas, plant size, and how you plan to use each section of your yard.
  • Keep soil healthy. Aerating your lawn and around trees at least once a year helps improve water penetration. When planting, turn and cultivate the soil and add compost or fertilizer to improve moisture retention and grow healthier plants that need less water to stay strong.
  • Mulch well around plants, bushes and trees. Using 2 to 4 inches of mulch reduces evaporation, moderates spikes and lows in soil temperatures, improves water penetration and helps control weeds that compete for water.
  • “Hydro-zone” your yard. Grouping plants with similar moisture needs in the same area makes it easier to make sure they get the water they need without overwatering. Separate plants from grassy areas, which have different water requirements.
  • Plant in spring or fall. Avoid summer, when hotter temperatures mean plants need more water to become established.
  • Save grass for functional areas. Plant grass in play zones and other areas where it will be used and enjoyed. Instead of planting turf on sleep slopes or other hard-to-water spaces, consider ground cover, perimeter plants or mulch.
  • Plant shade trees. The shade they cast creates natural “air-conditioning,” lowering air and soil temperatures, and reducing soil moisture loss.
  • Maintain your yard regularly. A well-maintained yard requires less water, so weed, prune and mow as needed

Great tips! I will post more in this blog from the IA as the month progresses. If you can't wait here is the link to their consumer help pages (http://www.irrigation.org/Resources/Smart_Irrigation_Month/Consumer_Resources.aspx). I have to add to the "Maintain your yard regularly" highlight -- mow high! This is my pet-peeve of the year. The hotter it is the higher your lawn-mower blade should be. This is the easiest water conservation improvement you can make. If you hire out your mowing, ask them to mow no less than 3.5" blade height.

Hope this helps you Keep it Green!

Have a super week!

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