Save Water and Create a Healthy Lawn, Beautiful Garden

(ARA) - With spring upon us it's time to start enjoying the great outdoors by planting in the garden and maintaining the lawn. When caring for a lawn and garden this season there are several tips to keep in mind to maximize your landscape's potential with minimal use of water.

"Water has always been recognized as a vital natural resource, but now communities and homeowners are growing increasingly concerned about conserving water," says John Marshall, manager of The Scotts Training Institute. "We've always made water research a priority at Scotts and educating homeowners about water use is an important part of our efforts."

With simple lawn care and gardening practices homeowners can create healthy lawns and beautiful gardens that make the best use of available water.

Depending on the region you live in, lawns require different care. Online research on your area and lawn type can be very helpful. One general rule of thumb is to make sure established lawns get at least 1 inch of water a week. Water for longer, less frequent periods of time to help the lawn absorb water deeper into the roots. Use a rain gauge or put out a shallow pan next time you water to determine how much water your lawn receives. Then, adjust watering habits accordingly. Fixing irrigation systems with broken or misdirected sprinkler heads also reduces water use.

"It's important to keep an eye on your lawn for signs of thirst to determine when to water and when to wait," says Marshall. "Grass wilts when it's thirsty, and if your grass isn't wilting, wait for rain to water your lawn."

An easy way to judge if a lawn needs to be watered is if footprints stay in the grass for several minutes.

Mowing and feeding your lawn also keeps it healthy. Adjust the mower's blade so it's on the highest setting, as longer grass blades promote deeper roots to help retain moisture. After mowing, leave grass clippings on the lawn to return organic matter and nutrients to the soil. A regularly fed lawn is strong, able to recover from drought conditions faster and absorbs water more efficiently. It's also important to make sure fertilizer is kept on the lawn and swept off sidewalks and driveways back into the grass, protecting streams and other waterways. A healthy, dense lawn also crowds out weeds that steal vital nutrients from the grass.

In the garden, efficient watering practices depend on the type of plants, the containers or soil they're planted in and the region. While it's important to take these factors into consideration when watering, there are general watering practices that apply to all gardens.

The best time to water is early morning, when evaporation is minimal. Gardens also benefit from longer, less frequent watering. To check if your plants are sufficiently watered, dig around the plants after watering to see if the soil is moist several inches down.

If you have hanging container plants, watch them carefully as they often need more water because wind dries the plant out. Container-grown plants also have a limited area to absorb water from, so they can dry out faster than plants in the ground. To help keep container plants well-watered try Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix with a formula blend that holds 33 percent more water than ordinary soils.

One of the easiest and most beneficial practices you can use in the garden is mulching. "Not only does mulching help conserve moisture, but adding a layer of mulch minimizes weeds, protects soil from erosion, and helps to maintain a more even soil temperature," Marshall says.

When it comes to watering efficiently, the market is saturated with items that help homeowners save water. Products specifically designed to be water efficient, such as a soaker hose, can be found in most local lawn and garden centers or online. Soaker hoses water garden beds efficiently and right where the plants need it -- at the roots.

With so many simple practices and products available to help homeowners use less water, it's easier to make a positive environmental impact by reducing water use. Water can be saved every day by modifying habits and using water more efficiently in lawns and gardens.

Content Provided By: Courtesy of ARAcontent

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