Water Conservation

The drought continues in South Carolina, which makes it is more important than ever to conserve water.  Not only does it protect a limited resource, it saves you money and can even save the life of your plants and trees.  One source I found says that up to 70% of household water use is outdoors.  That gives us all a lot of room to improve.

Here are some tips on how to cut back:

–          Mulch, Mulch, Mulch!  Adding a layer of mulch will help planting beds retain water, and reduce run off and splashing.

–          Don’t water between the hours of 10am and 4pm, or on windy days to reduce water loss through evaporation.

–          Walk across your lawn.  If you can’t see your footprints, you don’t need to water.

–          Does a screwdriver push into your lawn easily?  If so, it has plenty of water.

–          Mow your grass to the right height.  The higher the grass, the more extensive the root system becomes.

–          Invest in a rain gauge and if you have an irrigation system connect an automatic rain shut off device.

–          Water deeply so you can avoid watering frequently.  Water that goes deeper promotes deep roots.

–          Invest in a rain barrel to collect water from your roof.

–          Only water if the top 2-3 inches of soil are dry.

–          Ice cubes in hanging baskets prevent water overflow.

–          Time your irrigation system to see when it reaches the point of run off.  Take off 5 minutes from the run time.

–          Chose shrubs and groundcovers for sloped areas of your property.  It helps control run off.

–          Chose native plants and trees for your landscape.  They will typically tolerate our hot summer weather better.

–          When planting new plants and trees, look for a low water use tag at the nursery.  Consider plants and trees on how heat and drought tolerant they are and how insect and disease resistant.

–          Don’t overplant your beds.  Leave room for shrubs and trees to grow by finding out their mature size.

–          Plant new trees and shrubs in the fall when conditions are cooler and more rainfall is expected.

–          Group plants according to their watering needs to avoid over or under watering.

–          Remember that more plants die from overwatering than under watering.