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Caring for your lawn the smart way Special To The Star-news | Sat, Aug 18 2012 12:00 PM

Scorching-hot weather can drain even the most water-smart landscape. Here are a few tips to help make the most of the water applied to your lawn and garden while protecting your landscape from the harsh heat:

The greatest waste of water comes from applying too much, too often—much of the water is never absorbed. Instead of watering for one long session, water a few times for shorter periods and take 15-minute breaks in between each session. This will allow water to soak in, while minimizing runoff. Also, check to see if water is penetrating six to eight inches beneath the surface of the soil. If not, then another cycle may be needed to encourage root growth.
Water in the morning when the sun is low, winds are calm and temperatures are cool and less conducive to evaporation.

When it comes to watering individual trees, flowerbeds, potted containers or other non-grassy areas, consider applying water directly to the roots using low-volume drip irrigation. This will reduce water waste through evaporation or runoff, and will prevent unwanted weeds from growing.

A great way to conserve water and help plants stay healthy is to spread mulch in shrub beds, tree rings and flower gardens. Mulch is a protective covering that is placed around the base of plants, preventing evaporation and weed growth. Mulching helps drainage, encourages root development and cools the soil—reducing water use during hot summer months.

Using an automated irrigation system is one of the best ways to keep your lawn and landscape beautiful and healthy, while minimizing water waste. Automatic underground sprinkler systems distribute water evenly, preventing overwatering and ensuring that the watering is done at the right time.

If you still use a hose to water, then consider using an automated garden hose timer to transform it into an automatic water-saving tool. For example, Rain Bird’s Electronic Garden Hose Sprinkler Timer is a low-cost, battery-powered timer that attaches directly to the outdoor faucet and allows you to schedule watering automatically.

More watering tips are available from Rain Bird at www.rainbird.com.

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