Frequently Asked Questions
10 Water Saving Tips
Research shows that California’s use up to 50% more water than they need to maintain healthy, beautiful gardens. Experts suggest that our gardens and landscapes would actually be healthier if we watered less, but more thoroughly. It’s easier and less expensive to change the way you water than it is to completely overhaul your garden.
Despite our wanting to “water everything every 3 days”, most plants, cannot be watered with a calendar!! Temperature is not the only thing that determines how much water your plant uses. Other factors include rainfall, season (low in the sky winter sun vs. summer sun) relative humidity, wind and soil texture. Is the plant in a container or in the ground? How much water does a peach tree need in the winter ? Hint: a deciduous tree/shrub loses its leaves in the winter.
Also consider these factors:
- Is your plant next to a heat sink, like a South-facing wall?
- Is your 3 hours of sunlight in the “cool” early summer morning or the last 3 brutal hours of a summer day?
- Do you have small or new plants growing in with trees?
- You can’t water new plants the same way you water an established landscape
Are hydrangeas planted in with succulents?
- Are you watering your new plants with irrigation set for established plants?
- Are you watering your 6 pack of petunias with their tiny root mass at the same rate as your established perennials?
Ten EASY THINGS You Can Do To Save Water
1. Water early in the morning
Set your automatic sprinklers to run in the early morning and finish before 9 am. This will reduce evaporation and will lessen the likelihood of water waste from interference from winds. You will also find reduced plant disease and water damage.
Placing a layer of organic mulch on the soil surface around plants can save hundreds of gallons of water each year. Mulch prevents water evaporation and stops weeds from growing.
3. Repair and adjust sprinklers
Observe your sprinklers as they run. Adjust them as necessary to reduce overspray on sidewalks, roads, and patios, etc. Repair damaged sprinklers immediately. Check pipes for Leaks. Quick repairs and adjustments can save as much as 500 gallons each year.
4. Water deeper — but less often; water thoroughly and less frequently!!!
Most gardens on automatic sprinkling systems in California are overwatered. If yours goes on every day, that is most certainly the case. Change your system to water every other day or every third day. At the same time, increase the times by only 50-75%. You will have less evaporation and water will be further down where roots can access the water.
5. Change watering times with the seasons
Make sure your gardener adjusts your automatic system at least three times a year. Your highest frequency will be July-October. Lowest will be November-March, with April-June somewhere in between. During periods of rain, turn automatic systems off.
6. Use trigger sprayers when hand-watering
Every hose should be equipped with a trigger sprayer so water is not wasted as you water containers and the rest of your garden. Trigger sprayers are especially useful when washing cars. Also, use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks.
7. Minimize water loss in pots
Use water-retentive potting soils in containers for all plants needing regular or ample water. For plants requiring moderate to low water, use a cactus or citrus soil — Soil Moist in containers. (Soil Moist is a polymer which stores water for plants’ use as the soil dries).
8. Add lots of compost to your soil
Adding store-bought or homemade compost to all your planting beds and pots will decrease the amount water needed. Clay soils that are amended with organic matter will accept and retain water better. Sandy soils improved with compost will have improved water absorption and retention. This also improves the water holding capacity of your soil which is critical when establishing new plants in the ground.
9. Use organic fertilizers
Organic fertilizers slowly release nutrients into the soil at a natural rate that matches plants’ needs. With a slow, even feeding there is no overabundance of soft green growth that chemical fertilizers produce. Thus, your plants need less water when fed organically.
10. Install a smart sprinkler controller
The latest technology can help reduce your water use (and your water bill) dramatically. These wireless “smart controllers” activate your automatic sprinklers via computer based on current weather data and information about the specifics of your garden. You simply replace your automatic timer with a “smart controller”. You will also enter easy-to-determine information about your plants and soil. You can save 40 gallons or more each day using this type of controller.