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(MCT) –The heat is taking a toll on many of us these days and drought conditions cover more than half the country. As the temperatures soar, our gardens and lawns are suffering too. Do Your Part during this season’s extreme conditions to water more effectively and efficiently. Here are my top 7 ways to garden with less water.

1) Pick the Right Plants
Going native in the garden is the best way to avoid excessive watering. Plants native to where you live usually require a lot less water to thrive. Also, perennials may need more water when they are first planted but need less water over time compared to annuals.

2) Water the Right Way
One of the biggest problems during these dog days of summer is the dry soil. Watering our lawns and plants is tough because the water simply runs off instead of getting to the roots. Soaker hoses are your most affordable option. They let water drip out for a slow and deep soaking.

3) Mulch Makes a Difference
Using mulch in specific areas can make a big impact. Placing roughly 3-6 inches of mulch over soaker hoses and in between plants will keep precious water from evaporating. Mulch can be bought or created from things such as grass clippings, newspaper, wood chips, or even recycled rubber tires.

4) Pick a Better Pot
Mulch can also be placed in pots to help keep soil moist. Selecting the right kind of pot is important too. Choose pots made from glazed ceramic or plastic. Those options won’t soak up the water needed by your potted plants. Plastic pots can also be placed directly inside ceramic ones as a solution.

5) Capture Water When You Can
It’s hard to capture water outside during droughts. However, a rain barrel will collect what rain does come. Also, consider capturing water from inside your house. Keeping a pitcher by the sink to collect excess cooking water or the water that usually goes to waste waiting for the proper temperature is perfect for putting on our lawn and gardens.

6) Give the Lawn Some Love
Learning about your lawn is a must. For instance, cool season grasses, like fescue, go dormant in the heat and extra water will only create problems. Cutting with a dull mower blade also weakens grasses, which leads to it needing more water.

7) Free Yourself from Fertilizing
Finally, avoid fertilizing when water is in short supply. Proper fertilization requires additional water to support growth and root development.

Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, eco-expert and author of “Do Your Part: A practical guide for everyday green living” available at DoYourPart.com.

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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