How to save money & water on your lawn and landscape

As the article below states, rainwater harvesting and rain water tanks or rain barrels can save as much as 90% of water. Many of the other tips are relevant all over the world, including South Africa. Rain water tanks can store water for other household uses including drinking if properly filtered.

water conservation tips
Since landscape irrigation increases water use by 35 to 75 percent during the summer irrigation season, Texas A & M AgriLife recommends landscape water conservation practices be adapted to reduce water use, save money and still maintain a beautiful landscape.

Water conservation is the easiest and least expensive method to make water resources sustainable for future use.

The following is a list of water conservation practices and the percentage of water savings:

• Landscape with low water requiring plants —    50 to 60 percent

• Maintain 2 to 4 inches of mulch in planted areas — 10 percent

• Utilize irrigation evaluation/checkup to improve efficiency —    10 to 30 percent

• Convert spray nozzles to multi-stream nozzles — 25 to 30 percent

• Convert spray irrigation to drip irrigation —    50 percent

• Harvest rainwater for irrigation — 90 percent

• Install/retrofit WaterSense Labeled Smart Controller — 20 percent

• Install Rain and Freeze Sensor — 10 percent

• Use “Cycle and Soak” irrigation schedule —    20 percent

• Aerate lawn and apply ½ inch compost —    20 percent

Design or Redesign landscape to utilize low water requiring plants

A water conserving design with efficient irrigation could reduce water use by up to two-thirds.  Replace high water requiring plants and lawns with native and adapted drought tolerant varieties.

Do not plant new plants or convert your landscape during a drought. Wait until drought conditions and watering restrictions have lifted before making changes to your landscape.

Newly planted landscapes require frequent irrigation until the plants are established.

Once established water conserving landscape plants and lawns require infrequent irrigation. In fact, some water conserving landscapes require irrigation only a few times in July and August.

The best time to plant is during the fall, water or early spring.

Besides native and adapted plants and a drought tolerant lawn, a water conserving landscape has more planted areas.

Planted areas absorb rain and irrigation water more efficiently because the soil preparation and mulch in planted beds increase the infiltration and percolation rate.

Drought tolerant lawn grasses will reduce water requirements, and disease and insect problems.

Zoysia, Common Bermuda, Buffalo and Blue Gamma grasses make beautiful water conserving lawns.

Always check with your county Extension office about the lawn grasses that preform best in your area.

Good instructions for drawing a landscape design are at

Maintain 2 to 4 inches of mulch in plants beds Water Saving 10 percent

Mulch is like icing on a cake-it looks good and keeps the soil moist.  Maintain a 2 to 4 inch mulch layer in all planted areas and around trees.

•Mulch prevents loss of water from the soil due to evaporation

•Mulch prevents erosion

•Mulch prevents crusting of the soil surface, thus improving the infiltration rate and movement of water into the soil

•Mulch reduces the growth of weeds, when the mulch material itself is weed-free and applied deeply enough to prevent weed seed germination or to smother existing weeds.  Weeds are much easier to pull from mulch than from soil.

•Mulch keeps the soil cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter

•Mulch prevents soil splashing, which prevents plant injury and keeps soil-borne diseases from splashing up onto plants

•Mulch improves soil structure.  As the mulch decomposes, the material becomes part of the soil

•Mulch composes into plant essential nutrients

•Mulch protects tree trunks and shrubs from damage by law equipment

•Mulch helps prevent soil compaction

•Mulch will add  to the beauty of the landscape by providing a cover of uniform color and texture

•Mulched plants grow more roots than plants without mulch

Source: WaxahachieTX.com (By Mark Arnold)

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