Central Valley, Environment

Seven Ways to Save Water

By the Master Gardner Program

Water conservation is something all California residents should be conscious of. In 2009 the California State Senate passed the Water Conservation Act mandating a 20% per capita reduction in urban water use by December 31, 2020. It is estimated that overwatering causes 85% of all landscape problems.

There are 7 easy steps you can take in conserving water in your yard.

1. Group plants with similar water needs together. Water trees and other woody plants separately from the lawn, it is best to water them less frequently but more deeply.

2.Grow California natives or Mediterranean plants: They require less soil preparation, watering, fertilizing, and spraying. They help protect from non-local invasive plant species.

3.Proper Turf Management:A lawn is almost always the single largest user of water in the home landscape.

When to water your lawn: When top 2″ have dried out, footprints remain visible after walking on lawn and


the grass is changing color.

Irrigate early in the morning between 2 AM and 8 AM. Water use is most efficient in the morning as water evaporation is minimal and there is usually good water pressure.

Watering in the afternoon wastes water due to high evaporation rates.

Do not water during the evening because grass is more susceptible to diseases.

4. Irrigate Efficiently

•Slow deep watering is better; it allows water to absorb into the soil allowing roots to grow deeper.

•Don’t let puddles form or allow water to runoff into the street.

•Turn your sprinklers off during rainy season

•Water during the early morning rather than during the heat of the day or in windy weather.

•Check your irrigation system regularly for leaks and other malfunctions

5. Make Sure Soil is Healthy

•Healthy soil helps plants to retain moisture and resist evaporation.

• Add compost to the top 6″ to 12″ of soil

•Avoid Soil Compaction –Try not to walk where plants are growing.

•Before planting, remove existing weeds, they compete for soil moisture.

•To improve drainage, break up hardpan before planting

6. Mulching

•3″ inches or more of coarse mulch acts as insulation for your soil and significantly reduces evaporation of soil moisture.

•Mulching helps maintain a consistent soil temperature and protects roots from the heat and drying effects of summer weather.

•Keep mulch several inches away from the trunks of trees or shrubs as it may harbor insects or pathogens that promote root and crown diseases.

7. Provide Regular Maintenance

•Heavy pruning can lead to excessive plant growth and increased demand for water. Try pruning lightly during the winter season or very early spring.

•Overuse of fertilizers results in growth and heavy water consumption.

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