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The Challenge of Beating the Drought

March 26, 2015

There you are.  Spring is just around the corner.  You can already feel it in the air and see it in the trees and flowers.  It’s exciting and you can’t wait to get your yard up and running again.  But there’s a problem.  One that’s been going on for a long time.  Drought.

The biggest market for any home and garden company is California.  Unfortunately, the Golden State is entering its fourth year of low water levels, and that has forced the government to implement even further watering restrictions, some of which are quite drastic.

But not only do we want to help you avoid fines, but also keep your yard looking as well as it can during the tough drought time, while also doing your part to conserve water, all while conserving your time, too.

Catch cup greenOptimize

The first step is to figure out what water your yard really needs and make that your goal.  Most homeowners significantly overwater their yards.  And because irrigation is often the highest user of water in many homes, this can really make an impact.

But how to optimize?  Start with your lawn.  Figure out what kind of grass and soil you have, then run a catch cup test to find out how much water your lawn actually needs.  Most likely it’s less than you think.  From there, make sure all your sprinklers are working correctly.  This means checking for leaks or broken heads, but even more, making sure you’ve got the right nozzle for the job and that they are adjusted appropriately.  Don’t water the sidewalk.  This is wasteful and with new regulations, could result in heavy fines.

Watering doesn’t stop with the lawn.  Our gardens use a lot of water too.  Whether its flowers, trees or fruits & vegetables, determine how much water these need and try to get to that and no more.  The good news is all these things can benefit from drip irrigation, which will allow you to eliminate thousands of gallons of water waste.  Drip is easy to install, doesn’t cost too much and is simple to maintain.  It also cuts down on weeds, because you put the water only where you want it.  Once it’s in place you’ll see massive savings in water and money.

Maintain

Check up on your sprinklers often—more than you commonly would—because one broken head could result in thousands of gallons of water waste.

69520_ActionA green lawn can be had with less water.  Three things get you on this path.  First, let it grow.  A longer lawn needs less water.  The longer blades of grass provide more shade for the roots and store more water.  Also, cut the lawn with a sharp blade to avoid tearing the blades.  Second, make sure the water you do give it has maximum impact.  Water when it’s dark, that way the water doesn’t evaporate and has time to soak in.  Finally, let the water soak by watering in cycles.  Three 5-minute cycles (each separated by a 15-minute soak break) will do more than one 15-minute cycle.

The Nuclear Option

Even after all these steps have been followed, the crisis might still continue.  And though we hate to say it, the final option could be to eliminate all excess watering.  Flowers and a green lawn are wonderful to have, but they are a luxury and with things being as bad as they are, the only hope we might have is to forgo these luxuries for a time.  That could mean planting species that use less water and are native to desert environments, or not planting anything at all and leaving the flowerbeds empty.

Droughts present a lot of problems for our dreams of a beautiful yard, there’s no getting around it.  But it doesn’t mean it’s impossible and with these tips, you’ll be able to work with Mother Nature.

If it fits you could say something about less weeds w drip and associated time savings.

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