Be Water-Wise

Do you want to be a water-wise gardener? Are you looking for effective ways to properly water and reduce unnecessary water usage on your property? It's easy to have a beautiful landscape and save valuable water when you learn a few tricks of the trade.

Just The Facts
Do you know where our water on Long Island comes from? Aquifers, deep in the earth, contain the ground water that we rely on. It takes many, many years for rain water to percolate through soil and reach the aquifer. How much rain do we get? On average, Long Island receives about 44-48 inches of precipitation each year, some as rain, some as snow. July tends to be the driest month of the year; March usually is the wettest.

Ways To Conserve Water
Use mulch on landscape and garden beds. One to two inches of organic mulch conserves needed soil moisture and easily gets the job done.

Water early in the morning. Good gardeners know not to water during the heat of day when valuable water can be lost to evaporation.

Use a soaker hose to deliver water right to where it's needed — the roots! (if you don't like the look of a soaker hose you can bury it under the mulch.)

Make sure your garden needs water before you water. Sounds a bit silly, but you can't put plants on a set watering schedule. And when you do water, water deeply; daily sprinklings do more harm than good. If the soil is moist an inch or two below the surface, water should not be needed!

Keep weeds to an absolute minimum. Besides competing with desirable plants for needed soil moisture, weeds also rob nutrients for plant growth!

Tools That Make Watering Easier
Invest in a rain gauge and eliminate the guesswork. Read the gauge after you've watered or after it rains and aim for 1 to 1½ inches of water per week. Ideally that amount should be in one rainfall or watering; never daily dousings!

Water wands make watering hanging baskets and hard to reach places a snap. Shut-off levers avoid waste and keep patios and decks dry. No gardener should be without one!

Soaker hoses are the most efficient way to water landscape and garden beds. Made of recycled rubber, these porous hoses ooze water right where it's needed - in the root zone areas of plants. And if you're trying to keep certain leaf diseases like black spot or powdery mildew at bay, soaker hoses are the way to go.

Nozzles that deliver water via spray, mist, jet or sprinkle have many uses in the garden and around the home.

Sprinkler systems are a necessity if you have a lawn, whether newly seeded or sodded or established. Need to water larger areas? Use a sprinkler system to get the job done.

Watering cans are useful indoors and out! Consider liquid feeding plants using a watering can with a rosette attached to the end.

© 2009 Frank Graves Irrigation
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