This is South Texas and drought is a fact of life. But with a little know-how you can beat the heat at its own game, keeping your landscape healthy and your water bill affordable.
The hot, dry weather isn’t likely to be going anywhere anytime soon. After all, this is South Texas and drought is a fact of life.
As the summer heat lingers on, focusing on maintaining a healthy landscape and reducing our water use (and water bills) is prudent.
That task is easier than you think, especially since SAWS uses an eight-tier pricing structure to encourage water conservation. That means you save money quickly with small reductions in water use. It also means the more water you use, the higher per-gallon cost you’ll pay.
But let’s focus on using less water. Here are a few ways to do that.
- Water according to the Garden Geek’s weekly recommendations. These are determined by combining science with years of experience.
- Reduce sprinkling or irrigation run times in shaded areas. Shady areas require only 50-60 percent of the water sunny areas need.
- If you have an in-ground irrigation system, switch it from automatic to manual. This allows you to water only when absolutely necessary. Remember over-watering leads to fungi.
- Run your system briefly during the day — within permitted hours, of course — to find leaks and inefficiencies. Need a hand? Call 704-SAVE for a free irrigation consultation to help you find those leaks and check your run times.
- Apply 1-2 inches of mulch to beds. Mulch reduces moisture loss and soil temperature so roots can grow and find water.
- Use wetting agents to increase water infiltration. Wetting agents can be as simple as compost leachate or vinegar mixed with some dish soap in a 5-gallon bucket.
- Reduce lawn area. Grass requires the most water in the landscape. Reduce the lawn; reduce your water bill.
- Reduce sprays, rotors and sprinklers. Anytime water is sprayed upward it’s lost to evaporation. Consider drip irrigation, which can reduce water usage when properly designed and installed. A rule to remember: the less tubes and emitters used, the better the system. Never ever run drip irrigation more than once a week.
- Don’t water established native plants and trees; they don’t require supplemental water to survive.
Above all, with regards to turf, brown does not necessarily mean dead, just dormant. All it takes is a little precipitation and the grass greens-up again.
Of course, if you decide it’s time to give up the grass, Garden Style San Antonio has no shortage of ideas for what to put in its place, especially is you get a little help from our fall WaterSaver Landscape and Patioscape coupons that begin Aug. 15!