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Agricultural Review

Six Tips for Water-Wise Gardening

  1. Prepare your site properly. Well-prepared soils enhance root growth and reduce establishment time for newly installed plants, decreasing the frequency of supplemental irrigation. 
  2. Select the right plants. Proper plant selection will help ensure success in all conditions.
    Plant failure often occurs when a plant has been placed in a landscape area that is not conducive for its growth. Select species that will survive droughts as well as times with plenty of water. 
  3. Manage turfgrass areas effectively. Well managed turf uses less water and still looks great.
    Proper turf management is crucial during periods of drought. Turf provides many environmental benefits, such as reducing pollutants, storm water runoff and soil erosion. Because grass is the top water user in any landscape, consider using it in smaller areas. 
  4. Mulch, mulch, mulch. Proper use of mulch reduces water needs and is attractive too.
    Mulch conserves moisture by reducing evaporation. Mulch around woody plants should never be more than 3 inches deep, while mulch around herbaceous plants should never be more than 1 to 2 inches deep.
  5. Water plants efficiently. Use only as much water as needed for plant health.
    Use a rain gauge in your garden to keep track of how much water your garden receives naturally by rainfall. Group plants with similar water requirements together in the landscape.  Apply water just before or just after dawn to minimize evaporation. 
  6. Capture and recycle water. Catch water in rain barrels and cisterns for use in your landscape. Capture precipitation and excess irrigation water, maintaining the quality of water resources by minimizing water lost as runoff. Homeowners installing hard surfaces in their landscapes may want to consider pavers or other porous materials rather than concrete, as both allow penetration of rainfall into the ground.


NCDA&CS Public Affairs Division, Andrea Ashby, Director
Mailing Address:1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1001
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3001; FAX: (919) 733-5047

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