We cannot afford to take water for granted. It is our most precious resource. We should never forget how important it is to use water conservatively, even when we are not in a drought. Water is even more valuable than the oil we depend on for gasoline and thousands of petroleum-based products that we use every day.
Unfortunately, we use a lot of water on our yards during the summer. Our lawns are important to our lifestyles. We see them as extensions of our homes — our “outdoor rooms.” We are lucky in Southeast Georgia, because we can basically enjoy our outdoor rooms all year. Nothing is more relaxing than enjoying a day outside when the weather is nice. But did you know that up to 60 percent of water consumed by households during the summer is used for landscaping? By taking care of our lawns and gardens properly, through water conservation we can save money, time and help the environment.
Water conservation is the beneficial reduction of water use, waste and loss. It is proven to be the most economically and environmentally protective means of managing our water supply. Water conservation plans must be implemented all year, not just in the summer. The Environmental Protection Agency encourages us to consider “greenscaping” instead of landscaping. Greenscaping is a set of landscaping practices that can improve the health and appearance of your lawn and garden while preserving natural resources, like water.
Here are some tips from the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenscape site for curbing outdoor water use these last few summer weeks:
• Build your soil with compost and mulch to hold water and reduce evaporation.
• Choose low-water-use plants. Once established, they can often thrive just on rainfall.
• Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation on beds — they can save 50 percent or more compared with sprinklers.
• Use an outdoor water timer (available at garden stores) to water just the right amount, frequency and time of day. Even better, get one with a sensor that shuts down when it rains.
• Water lawns separately from plants and make sure sprinklers aren’t watering pavement.
• When soil is dry or compacted, it won’t absorb water quickly. If water puddles, stop watering and then restart so the water has time to soak in.
• Water in the early morning. If you water at midday, much of the water just evaporates. Evening watering should be avoided because it can encourage the growth of mold or plant diseases.
• In a serious dry spell, you can allow an established lawn to go dormant. Water just once a month and brown areas of the lawn will bounce back in the fall.
These ideas will save water and reduce your water bills. For more information on greenscaping, check out www.epa.gov. There is a wealth of information on greenscaping ideas for homeowners and commercial landscape companies.
For more information on KLB, call director Swida at 880-4888 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.