What You Can Do to Conserve Water in Your Home
- Don't overwater your yard. One inch of water per week in the summer will keep most grass types healthy
- Water occasionally, but deeply, to make every gallon count. Infrequent but regular deep watering will guide roots farther into the soil to seek out moisture
- Install rain shut-off devices and adjust sprinklers to eliminate spraying on roadways, driveways, or sidewalks
- Replace showerhead with a water-efficient model and save up to 6 gallons per minute
- Replace your old toilet with a water-efficient one and save as much as 5 gallons per flush
- Fill the sink with hot water when shaving rather than letting the water run continuously
- Only run the dishwasher with a full load. High-efficiency models can save 3-6 gallons of water per load over older models
- Install faucet aerators to restrict flow. With this, you can cut your sink water consumption in half and not notice the difference
- Keep drinking water chilled in the refrigerator instead of running the faucet until water is cool
- Repair leaking faucets promptly
Wash only full loads and save up to 55 gallons per load. If you have to wash partial loads, match the load setting on your machine to the amount of laundry to be washed
Master Gardner Tips
- All warm-season grasses, Bermuda, Centipede, St. Augustine, and Zoysia will need 1 inch of water per week to not go dormant. This should be applied as 1/2 inch 2 days/week. Applying 1/2 inch of water will wet the soil to a depth of 8 inches; there are no grass roots deeper than 8 inches so applying more than 1/2 inch is a waste.
- You must calibrate your irrigation system to know how long to run the system to put 1/2 inch on the ground. Place several tuna fish or cat food cans on the ground in each zone, run the zone for 15 minutes, measure the water in the cans, and do the math to define the time needed to get 1/2 inch of water on the ground.
- Water your lawn between midnight and 4 am. Our humidity is high and the grass is covered with heavy dew all night long. You will run your system less time to get the 1/2 inch of water on the ground when the sun and wind are not causing 40% of what exits the spray head to evaporate; you will also save money! Do the system calibration at the same time you plan to run the system.
- Use the following irrigation schedule to even out the demand for water:
- Odd address numbers: Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday
- Even address numbers: Wednesday/Friday/Sunday
- No irrigation on Mondays
- If you are starting a new lawn with sod, keep the new sod damp until the roots begin to grow into the parent soil. This normally takes a week. You can test this by pulling on a corner of the new sod. It will come up easily until the new roots enter the old soil. You will then feel resistance. When that occurs, go to the 1-inch per week cycle.
- If you are starting a new lawn from seed, wait until the Fall. Grass seed must be kept damp for 2 weeks to accommodate germination. If the seed dries out after germination begins, it will die. This requires too much water to attempt during a drought.
- Landscape plants (hollies, loropetalum, crape myrtle, ligustrum, privet, junipers, camellias, azaleas, wax myrtle, elaeagnus, and many more) once established only need to be watered when they show signs of wilting. Shut the drip zones on these plants off. If they need water, the leaves will inform.
Tom Woods, Master Gardener
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