Question: What advice do you have about drought/water curtailments.
Answer: We probably water our plants too much. Automatic sprinkler settings undoubtedly contribute more to that than any one other feature. Here are miscellaneous tips to get the most from available water:
- Avoid plants known to need excessive water. However, this is not meant to imply only desert-type plants.
- Do not fertilize during periods of mid-summer curtailments. Rampant growth requires more water.
- Mulch plants with roll-type or organic mulch, or both.
- Water in evenings or early morning hours.
- When possible, use soaker hoses turned upside-down, rather than spraying water into the air.
- Water thoroughly and infrequently, to promote deeper root growth that is better able to withstand dry periods.
- Leave the sprinkler system in the "Manual" mode, then turn it on yourself when your plants show need.
- Use a hose-end sprinkler to spot-water dry areas between automatic irrigations.
- Use "gray" water, that is, water from the washing machine and utility sinks.
- When conditions are most extreme, use available water for those plants that would take the longest or cost the most to replace, for example, shade trees and turf, rather than annual flowers. Just one good soaking every couple of weeks could keep turfgrass alive for the summer -- not beautiful, but alive.