Only 2.5% of the total water supply is fresh water on earth available for our use. Every year there are new reports of areas experiencing severe drought. Water conservation methods like using mulches, and drought tolerant plants in our landscape can help reduce our consumption.
The Right Plant in The Right Place
The first step is to find your niche to accurately evaluate your area, and this can sometimes mean you have a microclimate. You may find on a large property you can use less water in certain areas if you pay closer attention. In addition to the right watering be sure your plants are in the right place. This might seem obvious; however, I’ve worked in a lot of landscapes where plants were in the wrong place. Research pays off in this regard and your plants will thank you!
Stressed out Plants
Be sure to know the signs of stress your plant is giving. If your perennials are drooping in the hot, late afternoon sun it might be okay to spritz them with some water but they might not need a full watering. This could be part of their adaptation to heat and you can actually end up overwatering if you give them too much. Additionally, keep in mind over watering can also lead to many diseases which can harm your plants.
Another way to help your plants is to spread some mulch around the base of the plant. A compost mulch gives nutrients to the plants, making them stronger as well as assisting with moisture retention. Weeding throughout the season also helps to use less water and saves more nutrients for your landscape plants. Naturally, here at Lane Forest Products we’ve got you covered when it comes to mulch! Whether using a bark mulch or a compost this will help with moisture retention and even protect the roots during the winter months.
How Much Water is Enough?
This is one of the most common questions I get asked, however, it is more complicated than it seems. It depends on water pressure; the needs of the plant and the abilities of the soil to drain or retain water. It’s best to water your landscape plants deeply and less often to conserve water during the summer months. On that note the best time for watering is early in the morning. If you water in the evening you increase your chances of fungal diseases. When in doubt use a soil probe or a watering meter. They are great for determining the soils moisture content. I bought a simple one, the Water Right Soil Probe, several years ago and it works great.
It’s never too late to be thinking about water conservation. Conserving water helps the environment but also helps your garden!
Written by Karen Smith, Lane Forest Products Plant Specialist