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Skaggs: Conserve water by mulching and weeding

POSTED: January 3, 2008 5:02 a.m.
With the ongoing drought, water conservation should be a priority for us all. I hope you are doing everything you can to save water around your home as well as in the landscape. Here are some water conservation tips and suggestions for the landscape and garden.

Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around your pumps.

If considering making landscape additions, fall and winter planting is preferred as the plants’ watering requirements are lower.

Check your water meter and bill to track your water usage.

Use a layer of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year.

Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway or sidewalk and save 80 gallons of water every time.

We’re more likely to notice leaky faucets indoors, but don’t forget to check outdoor faucets, pipes and hoses for leaks.

When you clean your fish tank, use the water you’ve drained on your plants. The water is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, providing you with a free and effective fertilizer.

Use porous materials for walkways and patios to keep water in your yard and prevent wasteful runoff.

Direct downspouts and other runoff toward shrubs and trees, or collect and use in other areas in your landscape.

Install a rain shut-off device on your automatic sprinklers to eliminate unnecessary watering.

Choose a water-efficient drip irrigation system for trees, shrubs and flowers. Watering at the roots is very effective, but be careful not to over water.

When using gray water, water your plants deeply but less frequently to develop healthier, stronger roots.

Make sure you know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save gallons of water and damage to your home if a pipe were to burst.

Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light and water.

While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed.

Avoid installing ornamental water features and fountains that spray water into the air. Trickling, cascading and flowing fountains lose less water to evaporation.Use a commercial car wash that recycles water. 

Billy Skaggs is an agricultural agent and Hall County Extension Coordinator. Phone: 770-531-6988. Fax: 770-531-3994.


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