Summer is winding down and fall will be here before we know it. Currently, we are in a record breaking dry spell with high temperatures,very little rain and town water bans. With the temperature getting a little cooler, it can be easy to forget the drought but when you look at the brown lawns all over the neighborhood you will quickly realize how bad things really are. Some areas of the U.S. are having flooding while others have not seen a good rain in months. As I’m sure you know, I’m in one of the areas facing a drought.
Learn 7 Secrets to Gardening in A Drought
There are several things you can do to get through these tough times. The first way is what I refer to as my secret weapon to drought survival.There are very few landscapers and gardeners who uses this method. (not to say they’re not out there) Having worked on several golf courses over the years has taught me ways that can save you lots of time, money and aggravation by using one simple product. Before I get into what this secret weapon is, lets just go over some more common ways to control drought
5 Ways to Reduce Water Use
1) Avoid over spray.- If you are fortunate enough to live in a community that allows watering by sprinkler or irrigation it is easier to overwater. If water is going over your grass or plants and into the street or driveway then you are wasting water. If this is happening, the sprinkler heads need adjusting.
2) Use soaker hoses.-Not only are soaker hoses better for plants but they use less water. These hoses will not benefit your lawn but when used in a garden there are significant benefits. First being less disease from wet foliage, second is less water loss from evaporation on leaves and in the air. Last but not least is less of your time standing there with a hose.
3) Use mulch.-Mulch in your garden will retain moisture. It will keep your soil cooler by shading it from the sun. Lighter mulches are better at doing this than black or darker mulches. Use 2-3 inches of mulch throughout your beds or garden to help in dry times.
4) Eliminate weeds.-Making sure your yard is weed free or as close to it as possible will benefit other plants in the area. It is kinder to the eye to see a weed free garden but most don’t know that weeds will also rob your other plants of valuable H2O.
5) Use drought tolerant plants.-The above tips will help you during a drought but this one requires a little more planning. Also you may have your work cut out for you if you are looking for drought tolerant vegetables, but when it comes to flower, shrubs and trees there are many options.
Just like some plants require more or less sun, they also like more or less water. There are many plants that would actually rather be in dry soil over moist, it just depends on which zone you live in as to which plants they are. There are also grass seed blends that are more drought tolerant than others.
2 Bonus Water Saving Tips
6) Know the best watering periods.- Most plants, especially vegetables have critical watering periods. One of the most critical times for watering is planting and transplanting periods. It is important to water regularly during these times to prevent stressed plants.
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how much water is wasted and how much can be saved by doing little things. At the time they may seem pointless but they really help. To better understand just how much water is wasted the EPA has created this infographic to help us better see how much we are wasting. This government website is loaded with facts and illustrations about wasting and saving water that will surely be surprising.
Special Agent – Wetting Agent
7) Now for the secret weapon… What is a WETTING AGENT ? An undercover guy in a trench coat and sunglasses that comes around spying on drought areas. Wait, what ??
No, seriously a wetting agent is a product that is added to water, that actually reduces the amount of water you use by up to 40%. They work by reducing the surface tension of a liquid allowing better penetration and ability to spread more easily.
They actually make water wetter if that makes any sense. Have you have ever poured water out of a watering can to only watch it all run away from the plant and go where you didn’t want it to? Well, if there were a wetting agent in the soil it would actually get sucked right into the soil and not run away. It’s like magic! During extreme dryness I use it only about once a month. Another perk is most, if not all soil wetting agents are very forgiving and will not harm the plant if too much is used.
It’s not like pesticides or fungicides that will harm or kilI, I have actually never seen a plant harmed from over use, not to say it can’t happen. I myself did not start using these products until about three years ago, probably because I never heard anyone else talk of them, maybe because it was there secret. It is by far the biggest help in the industry when up against a drought.
If any of these tips have really helped you in a drought or would like to share some of you own than please leave a comment below. For more great tips on gardening than check this out.