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Water Wise Gardens

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Water Conservation

Creating Water Wise Gardens

Creating waterwise gardens is very important and there are many ways you can reduce the water you use for your garden and flower beds. Choosing native plants that are water wise instead of exotic plants that need more water is a great start. Improving your soil is also a very important way to help create water wise gardens. Re-using rain water with the use of rain barrels is also a great way to conserve water in your garden.

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Keys For Creating Water Wise Gardens

The best place to start when creating water wise gardens is to make sure your soil is healthy and working properly. Ideal soil in a water conserving landscape needs to do two things, it need to be able to drain quickly and at the same time store water. You can achieve these two things by increasing the amount of organic matter in your soil and keeping it well aerated. The best way to increase organic matter in your soil is by using compost. Compost helps your soil retain water in the root zone and adds nutrients to the soil.

Waterwise GardensThe next step in creating water wise gardens is to try and choose water wise plants that are native to your area. Native water wise plants have evolved to thrive in the precipitation and weather patterns of your area and will use the water that is available more wisely than exotic plants not native to your area. Water wise plants have smaller leaves which helps to reduce water loss and lightly-colored leaves that reflect sunlight instead of absorbing it. Many also have hairy leaves which reduce water loss through transpiration and tougher internal structures that are more likely to be water-efficient.

Another key to waterwise gardens is to use mulch around your plants to help get the moisture in the soil by reducing evaporation. Mulch helps to form a vapor barrier over the soil surface which helps prevent evaporation of soil moisture and retain soil temperature. Mulch will also help prevent erosion and blocks out competing weeds. To be most effective, mulch needs to be several inches thick with no areas of bare soil showing. Organic mulch will slowly decompose into the soil, and will need to be reapplied from time to time. But you can also use mulch that is made from recycled materials such as recycled plastic that will not decompose.


Watering Water Wise Gardens

Making sure you water your plants at the right time of day is a key to conserving water in your garden. Avoid watering your plants during the hottest part of the day or when it is windy because you will lose water to evaporation. The ideal time to for watering is in the early morning or evening, watering in the early morning is the best time so that you avoid plant disease. Avoid water in the evening during high humidity, this can lead to plant disease. Another key to remember is to water deeply every few days instead of lightly every day. Doing this helps encourage plant roots to grow deeper, and allows them to obtain more moisture from the soil.

Rain barrels are also a great way to conserve water. Rainwater is one of the most abundant and consistently available natural resources in most areas. The harvesting and conservation of water with the use of rain barrels is an efficient way to cut down on your water usage. Collecting rainwater for your garden is also a smart idea because rainwater is naturally soft and free of chlorine and other chemicals which will make your plants healthier and happier. Also if you live in an area where drought is a problem, collecting rainwater with rain barrels is a great way to deal with local watering restrictions.

Installing efficient watering drip systems is a more efficient way to water your plants and is a great way to conserve water. Drip irrigation is the slow application of water directly to the plants' root zone. Drip irrigation assures that water is not wasted on non-growth areas and the plant root zone is maintained at its ideal moisture level. As a result of using drip irrigation with longer watering interval, your plants will create a deeper root system and will have more abundant foliage. Drip irrigation is a simple answer to efficiently and effectively applying water where the plant needs it the most.

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Xeriscape Water Wise Gardens

Xeriscape meaning dry landscape is catching on as great way to have an attractive garden while at the same time conserving water. The idea of Xeriscapes is to create water wise gardens to avoid any wasted water. Properly designed xeriscapes minimize water loss through evaporation and run-off and are based around water wise native plants. 

A major benefit of Xeriscape is that they are generally low maintenance. Occasional pruning and weeding is really the only maintenance needed since watering requirements are low, and can be met with simple irrigation systems like drip irrigation. Drip irrigation systems offer the easiest and most efficient watering for Xeriscapes since they deliver water directly to the root zone which reduces moisture loss from evaporation. They also deliver the water at a slower rate which encourages root absorption and helps to reduce water pooling and soil erosion. With the use of plants native to your area, you eliminate the need for fertilizers and pesticides, and sufficient nutrients are provided by the use of healthy organic soil.

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