Here in the Metro Detroit area, I don’t think we’ve had a soaking rain in weeks. If it wasn’t for the humidity and lack of cacti, you’d think we live in the desert. My lawn is the depressing dead brown that I’m used to seeing before our first snow. The garden my roommates and I spent hours creating and tending seems to barely be hanging on after days of relentless heat. I want to drench my lawn and plants with a river of water, but I also don’t want my water bill to skyrocket.
After meditating on the problem and doing a little internet research, I have a few ways to efficiently keep my landscape alive while not draining my checking account.
- Rain Collection System
Many people living in dry areas have developed rain collection systems to reduce their dependency on local water systems. Something as simple as putting a few five-gallon buckets in your yard when it rains can reduce your dependency on municipal water. If you’re interested in going bigger, rain collection systems start at about $60 and hold about 40 gallons of water. The more money you shell out, the bigger and more elaborate the system you can get.
- Cover Exposed Garden Soil with Mulch
A friend’s mom recently told me about this and after reading more about it I might go pick up some mulch after work tonight. The idea behind this is that you water the garden beds or pots really well and cover the soil with mulch right after. The mulch acts as a moisture barrier, preventing evaporation. As an added bonus, mulch also helps to keep weeds away. If I don’t have to weed and water so much, this sounds like the perfect option for me!
- Water Early in the Morning or Late in the Evening
If you water your garden or lawn during the hottest part of the day, which is usually around 3 p.m., more water will evaporate than if you water your landscaping during cooler parts of the day. I try to water my garden in the morning before work and after dinner at night. This ensures the maximum amount of water reaches the deepest roots rather than vanishing into the air.
- Avoid Cutting Your Lawn
If your local forecast calls for hot conditions and no rain for a few days, hold off on cutting your grass. According to Scott’s Lawn Care, allowing your lawn to grow taller will result in deeper roots. It’s easier for deeper-rooted grass to locate water in the ground during dry conditions. Besides, who wants to cut the grass when it’s excruciatingly hot outside anyways? Take a break and let your lawn go for a while.
- Keep Your Garden and Lawn Weed Free
Even the most dedicated landscaper hates weeding, but getting those pesky, unwanted plants out of your garden and lawn helps increase efficient water usage. By removing weeds, your garden plants and grass aren’t competing for water.
These few simple tips can help save your lawn and garden during those rainless summer days, and won’t drive up your water bill. Until that next monsoon, I’ll be using these tips to keep my landscaping alive and well.
How have you coped with the dry conditions across the United States? Share your ideas with other Zing readers!