SOURCE: Gardener's Supply

Gardener's Supply

July 21, 2011 13:34 ET

Think Like a Plant During Drought: Gardening Techniques for Hot Weather

Gardener's Supply Offers Seven Tips to Save Water

BURLINGTON, VT--(Marketwire - Jul 21, 2011) - When gardening in a drought it can be very difficult to make sure the plants in our gardens and landscape get the water they require to survive, much less thrive. With severe drought in most of the U.S. and water bans in effect in many areas, gardeners have no choice but to minimize the amount of water given to plants.

Understanding when to water and how plants use function also helps gardeners understand the three premises of smart watering: focusing water delivery, increasing water retention and minimizing water loss.

"It's possible to dramatically reduce your water consumption, lower your water bill and still have a beautiful, productive garden, just follow our Seven Tips to Save Water," said Maree Gaetani, gardening relations, Gardener's Supply.

1. Deliver water directly to the roots.
Drip irrigation and Gardener's Supply soaker hoses ensure that up to 90 percent of the water you apply to your garden is actually available to your plants. Sprinklers can claim only a 40 to 50 percent efficiency. Drip irrigation minimizes evaporation loss and keeps the areas between plants dry, which also helps limit weed growth. Patented Aqua Cones are an economical and effective way to get water directly to the roots of individual plants. Water timers combined with soaker hoses are key to ensuring plants get the correct amount of water.

2. Use mulch to retain water and reduce evaporation.
A six to eight-inch layer of organic mulch can cut water needs in half by smothering thirsty weeds and reducing evaporation. Organic mulches retain some water themselves and increase the humidity level around plants.

Organic mulches include chopped or shredded leaves, straw, compost, salt hay, shredded newspaper, grass clippings and rotted hay. You can also use inorganic mulches such as Weed Matting, and to help save trees during a drought, use Coco Fiber Tree Rings or Recycled Rubber Tree Rings.

3. Enhance Your Soil with Organic Matter and Other Soil Helpers.
Adding organic matter to your soil helps all types of soil, from sand to clay. Organic matter, in the form of compost, chopped up leaves or composted manure will improve the texture and water-holding capacity of your soil. Add at least an inch of compost each year.

Terra-Sorb water-absorbing crystals can be mixed into the soil in your planters or even in a garden bed. As the soil around them dries, the crystals shrink, releasing their water to the soil.

4. Reduce your lawn.
Turfgrass is one of the most water and labor-intensive types of "gardens" you can have. Consider planting groundcovers or low-maintenance perennials instead.

5. Use free water.
Rainwater is the best choice for your plants and it's easy to harvest rainwater with rainbarrels. It's clear, unchlorinated and free. Use rainbarrels or a cistern to collect water from your downspouts. A 1,000 square foot roof will yield 625 gallons of water from one inch of rain. To figure out how much you can collect from your roof, use the Rainfall Harvest Calculator.

6. Don't get Discouraged -
Next Year Plan Before You Plant
By planning your garden before you plant, you can take advantage of the characteristics of your site, such as sun, shade, wind and soil. Group plants with similar water needs. Also consider how your plants will get the water they need. Planning will save you time and energy down the road.

For more plants that are well-suited to your area, contact your local extension or Master Gardener service.

7. Take good care of your plants.
Healthy plants need less water, fertilizer and pest controls than stressed plants. By keeping on top of tasks, such as weeding, thinning, pruning and monitoring pests, a homeowner will be able to ease off on watering.

Learn more about water-wise gardening and products at Gardener's Supply, a leading online gardening retailer.

Contact Information

  • For more information:

    Maree Gaetani
    802-660-3500 x5925
    Email Contact