Watering & Irrigation

Twelve Smart Watering Practices


More than 50% of our water consumption takes place in our gardens. But there are easy ways to reduce our water usage, with the benefit of stronger plants, less maintenance, lower water bills and decreased demand on natural resources.

Install a Drip System – Installing a drip irrigation system in your planting beds will put water at the root system where the soil will absorb the water, preventing run-off. You can save up to 60 percent of the water used by sprinklers.

Water Roots, Not Leaves – If you don’t have a drip irrigation system, use a hose to water deep into the roots, rather than spraying the leaves. Watering just the leaves of a plant increases water loss through evaporation.

Use an Efficient Sprinkler – Drip irrigation works well in planting beds, but not so well on lawns. If you water your lawn, use an efficient lawn sprinkler. A sprinkler can use as much water in an hour as a family of four will use in a day! Oscillating sprinklers use much more water and are less efficient than misting ones.

Inspect Sprinklers Often – Check your sprinkler system frequently for leaks and kinks.

Water Plants, Not Pavement – Adjust sprinklers so water reaches only your lawn and garden, not the house, sidewalk, or street.

Use a Timer – A forgotten sprinkler can waste more than 250 gallons of water an hour. A timer makes sure you never forget.

Stop the Flow – Use a springloaded hose sprayer / nozzle or hose-end turn-off device so you don’t waste water while walking back to the faucet to turn it off.

Water Less Often – Healthy lawns don’t need nearly the amount of water as we think they do. If grass springs back up after you walk on it, it doesn’t need water. You could also let your lawn go dormant for the summer; most grasses rebound when rains return in fall.

Water Deeply – Water infrequently, deeply, and thoroughly. This stops wasteful runoff and encourages roots to spread deeper. Plants with deep roots develop greater tolerance to dry spells.

Watch the Weather – If rain is in the forecast, don’t water. After a good rain, hold off on watering until the soil dries out. And if the weather is cool and/or humid, cut back on the frequency and volume of water.

Water Early in the Day – Avoid watering during the heat of the day – most of it will evaporate before it reaches the roots. Water early in the day to decrease evaporation. Avoid windy days for the same reason.

Prioritize Watering – Focus on those areas that need a little more care, rather than watering everything in the same way. For example, new plants need more frequent watering than established trees and shrubs.

And now over to you – What do you do to save water in the garden? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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