Particularly in California, where water is such a precious resource, it’s important for gardeners to utilize proper irrigation. By watering only when you need to and only as much as your plants require, you can reduce water usage by around 25% — an average of 11,000 gallons per year. Here are some tips to be a water-wise gardener with healthy plants:
Soil condition is one of the best ways to measure water levels. Stick your finger deep in the soil near your plant’s roots and pull it back a little bit to see how it looks and feels. If it is moist 6 to 12 inches down – perfect; if it is dry, you may need to do some additional watering.
The roots are the only part of the plant that needs water. In fact, watering the leaves can promote the spread of disease, not to mention waste unnecessary water.
All plants need more water initially to help establish a deep root system. But over time too much water can be just as threatening to plants as too little water. When possible use automatic timers to control the frequency and quantity of your watering.
The best time to water is in the early morning. This gets the plant hydrated before the heat of the day sets in but gives the plant time to dry out if the foliage gets wet. This also helps prevent plant diseases, because it is more difficult for plant diseases to develop and spread when foliage is dry.
Not only does a fresh three- to four-inch layer of mulch make your house look worthy of putting on the market, mulch also helps reduce runoff and slows evaporation.
Drip irrigation or soaker hoses are the best options for efficient watering. But always remember to base your watering on plant size and variety, soil type and sun exposure.
All plants are not equal in terms of water needs. If you are intentional about choosing plants that require less water, maintenance is easier and you will significantly reduce water usage. Learn more about Water-Wise Plants in California!