Sure, we’re knee-deep in winter right now but before you know it, temperatures will warm, the garden will beckon and you’ll trade high heating bills for monstrous water bills. “Nationwide, landscape irrigation is estimated to account for nearly one-third of all residential water use, totaling nearly 9 billion gallons per day,” claims the EPA; a frightening statistic, when one considers that less than 1 percent of the earth’s water is available for human use.
As you consider your gardening plan for 2017, why not resolve to use less water? You’ll not only save money, but help save the planet as well.
Container gardens seem to be water efficient but, sadly, the opposite is true. Soil in containers tends to dry out quicker than the garden’s soil, requiring more water, more frequently. Unless you’re an apartment or condo dweller with limited space, consider foregoing the terra cotta planters this season and vow to plant everything in the ground.
Consider this: A lawn requires, on average, 1 inch of water, or a bit more than a half-gallon of water per square foot, according to Ben Erickson at todayshomeowner.com. He goes on to say that every 10-foot square area lawn requires 62 gallons of water at each irrigation. “That doesn’t sound like much until you consider that a 100’ x 100’ lawn uses 6,230 gallons of water every time you turn on the sprinklers!” he adds.
How much does your water cost? Using $2.00 per 1,000 gallons as an estimate, plan on paying about $50 a month just to water your lawn during the growing season.
Sure, a lush, green lawn can amp up a home’s curb appeal, but if you plan on staying put for a while, consider getting rid of it or at the very least, cutting down its size or replanting with a less thirsty variety of turfgrass.
Save water and money by choosing from among these alternatives:
Drip irrigation is the least expensive and most efficient way to water a garden. By slowly dripping water to the plants’ root systems, the soil is able to absorb the moisture and avoid runoff. In fact, according to the EPA, drip irrigation systems use .”. . .20 to 50 percent less water than conventional pop-up sprinkler systems and can save up to 30,000 gallons per year.”
If you must use a sprinkler system, the EPA recommends that you choose one with rotary spray heads rather than mist spray heads.
Do some research before heading out to your local nursery when the first signs of spring arrive. Find out which plants are native to our area and consider using as many as possible in your garden plan. Native plants are adapted to local weather conditions and soil and require far less water than non-natives.
If in doubt about how much water a plant requires, avoid purchasing plants with glossy, large, dark-colored leaves. These leaves “absorb more heat and require a lot of water, and a larger leaf surface area equals greater water loss,” according to National Geographic’s Carolyn Bistline.
January is the ideal time to start planning the spring garden. Gather up those seed catalogs and nursery flyers and plan a water smart landscape in 2017.
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