There's something about the smell of water from a garden hose that just says "summer" to a green thumb. Here are a few tips on how to water your lawn and garden responsibly -- conserving water for fish, birds, and the natural environment.
If you are a die hard green thumb, then the first sing of spring is when you find yourself gazing out the window at yard and thinking "that looks awful." You find yourself rummaging around the shed, inspecting your garden tools, and making excuses about why you need to get out to the Home Expo Mart and linger in the lawn and garden aisle.
And if you are die hard green thumb, then the first sign of summer is when you find yourself thinking "it's been a while since it rained" -- and you unwind the hose to give your beloved plants a bath.
Here in the Washington DC metro area, we've been fortunate enough to enjoy an ample supply of water from a big river -- the Potomac. But the region's population has grown a lot in region years and those water supplies that once seemed limitless now seem very finite indeed. Here are a few tips on how to do your part -- enjoy a lush green lawn, and leave water in the Potomac for the fish, birds, and other animals that need it.
Tip #1: Water Once Per Week In the Washington metropolitan area, most lawns and gardens, one inch of water per week is plenty, whether it comes from a hose or falls from the sky. Here's a simple way to know how much water your grass has received: Place a coffee can or other similar container in the area to be watered. Turn the sprinkler or system on, and let it run until there is one inch of water in the can. At that point, check the amount of time it took to get that inch of water in the can. One should water the area for this same amount of time each week.
Tip #2: Make Your Water Last: Mulch! Mulching is another method of conserving water. Mulch around garden plants helps the soil to retain the moisture, which the plants need to survive. One should also remember to use mulch in their planters and pots-they too need to retain their moisture. As a bonus, mulch helps prevent weeds.
Tip #3: Water Early Watering during the heat of the day is like going for a scenic drive during rush hour -- it's just a frustrating waste of time (and water). The midday sun causes much of the water (and your money) to evaporate! Early morning is the best time to water the grass and plants. Watering in the morning allows the sun to dry the leaves of the plants during the day, preventing mold and fungus from developing. In addition, when watering in the morning, there is less wind, thus there is less evaporation, which means one will be using less water. At this time, the grass and plants are also more able to absorb the water.
Tip #4: Aim If you see water running down the driveway or along the curb, that's a sign of sloppy aim. If you're using an automatic sprinkler system to water your yard, make sure it actually watering your yard -- not the asphalt! For many yards, the use of a soaker hose might be the best option. These allow the water to seep into the soil slowly, rather than having a sprinkler deliver the water too quickly and causing a runoff of water. For some plants, especially those in pots, the traditional watering can will provide the needed water.
Tip #5: Enjoy! You've watered your lawn. You've followed these tips. And now it's time to relax and enjoy the rewards! Next time your guests are over for that backyard cookout, enjoy the admiration they express over that lush green grass you've worked so hard to care for. Then, tell them about these extra steps you've taken to do your part for the environment and watch the look on their faces.
Are you a green thumb in the Washington, DC or its suburbs? If so, check out the Metro DC Lawn and Garden Blog, your source for "green" news and tips in the area. This article was placed in this directory by the Water Words That Work, LLC, an environmental awareness and communication company.