Question: I’d like to cut my water bills and conserve water. What tricks can you give?

Answer: Not too many tricks, just lots of common sense. First, choose plants that don’t require excessive amounts of water to stay healthy. Be sure your watering system is functioning properly, whether you use an automatic system or a hose with a sprinkler. Invest in a “smart” controller that will monitor weather conditions, soils, sun/shade, slopes and plants being grown before determining when sprinklers are to run. Mulch your plants liberally, preferably with compost or shredded bark and likely in combination with a roll-type mulch. Water early in the morning, when evaporation will be at its lowest. Learn to recognize drought symptoms in your plants, then water deeply and wait until they begin to dry out before watering again. Usually you’ll have one or two plants that will be the first to wilt. Drip irrigation is a very good plan wherever it’s practical.

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