2011-07-01 / Columnists

The Diary Of A Green Thumb

Conserving Water While Keeping Your Lawn Hydrated
Commentary By Danielle, Danielle’s Rockaway Florist

Maintaining the health of our lawn and garden takes a bit more watering as the summer days grow hotter. While it is necessary to provide a generous amount of water, we all have a responsibility to take a few extra steps in preserving as much of our resources as possible.

Did you know that the average American uses approximately 168 gallons of water each day, and enough water to fill two Olympic-size swimming pools each year? Although 80 percent of the earth is covered with water, less than one percent is available for human consumption and as many as one in six people do not have regular access to safe drinking water. This seems like a pretty big problem to cure, so how can just one person help? Fortunately, there are simple ways to reduce excess water use by making small changes in our lives.

The American Water Works Association estimates that Americans can cut their water use by 35 percent by installing more efficient water fixtures and regularly checking sprinkler heads and valves for leaks. Updated irrigation systems can help you save water and money! Be sure to water only your lawn, not the street, sidewalk, driveway or passers-by. Rain sensors can be installed on your automatic sprinklers to override the scheduled watering if adequate rainfall has occurred, and timing devices should be adjusted each season as weather conditions change.

Water your lawn only when necessary by giving it a few deep soakings rather than more frequent sprinkling. The morning is the best time because temperatures are at their lowest, so evaporation is reduced by 30 percent, compared to mid-day watering. An easy way to tell if your lawn is thirsty is to walk across the grass. If you leave footprints, its time to water! Use mulch around the plants and shrubs in your garden, and set your lawn mower a notch higher to preserve moisture and promote deep root growth.

If the dirt in your flower bed contains a lot of sand or clay it is important to mix in a special gardening soil or organic material to help retain some of the moisture after watering.

Your plants will benefit from the moisture in the soil that is retained long term.

Finishing your garden design with a layer of mulch adds a decorative touch while protecting the soil from drying out quickly. The wood chips hold water as well and slow down the evaporation from the warmth and sun. If we all work together, conservation can save thousands of gallons of water each year! We should all make these small changes in our habits and gardens because we can make a difference in saving the environment.

Please feel free to write to us with gardening questions or tips for our readers at: Danielle’s Rockaway Florist, 436 Beach 129 Street, Rockaway Park, NY 11694

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