Efficient irrigation

A water-wise landscape requires a minimal amount of supplemental water from irrigation. When irrigation is used, water is applied efficiently and effectively to make every drop count (Wade et al., 2002). Irrigating lawns, gardens, and landscapes can be accomplished either manually or with an automatic irrigation system. Manual watering with a hand-held hose tends to be the most water-efficient method. Using irrigation water efficiently also requires us to select the appropriate type of irrigation for the plants and for each area of the landscape. Trees and shrubs in the low water-use zone would need supplemental water only during establishment (first 8 to 10 weeks after transplanting); plants in moderate water – use zones require water only during periods of limited rainfall when they show signs of stress. For these plants, a temporary system such as a soaker hose or hand watering may be all that is required. On the other hand, high water-use zones require frequent watering and may warrant a permanent system with automatic controls. Whenever possible, use highly efficient watering techniques, such as drip irrigation (Wade et al., 2002).

2.2 Use mulches

Mulching is one of the most beneficial landscape practices. Mulches conserve moisture by preventing evaporative water loss from the soil surface and reducing the need for supplemental irrigation during periods of limited rainfall. By maintaining an even moisture supply in the soil, mulches prevent fluctuations in soil moisture that can damage roots. Placing a layer of mulch directlyaround shrubs and trees and on flower beds helps to conserve water. In fact, mulch

• Helps retain moisture in the soil

• Decomposes slowly, adding nutrients to the soil

• Provides habitat or cover for beneficial soil organisms

• Shades soil from the baking sun, reducing the need for water

• Protects against soil erosion and compaction caused by rain

• Reduces weed growth

• Reduces maintenance chores; keeps lawn mowers and weed trimmers from damaging trees and other plants

• Looks good in the landscape

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