It doesn’t have to be New Year’s Day to make a new resolution. Any time’s a good time to decide to change habits and practices for the better. One great resolution to make anytime is to find ways to use water more efficiently in our gardens and landscapes. One way is to choose plants that require less water in the first place. The Missouri Landscape and Nursery Association, Illinois Green Industry Association, Missouri Botanical Garden, Powell Gardens in Kansas City, and the University of Missouri – Mizzou Botanic Garden have partnered together to promote reliable, non-invasive and ornamentally attractive plant selections that won’t guzzle gallons of water.
Plant recommendations in the “Water as a Resource” initiative are based on the Plants of Merit program, focusing on specific plants in that program that thrive in a dry garden. The initiative also promotes “smart” watering irrigation products and more to help the green industry and environmentally conscientious homeowners do more with less when it comes to water use.
In addition to selecting drought-tolerant plants, here are some other ways you can use water more efficiently in your home landscape:
- Set up a rain barrel to collect roof runoff that would otherwise go down the storm sewer. Rainbarrels are available on line or at many local retailers.
- Plant a rain garden to control and take advantage of water runoff from your property. For instructions go to the Grow Native! website and check out their Easy Landscape Plans.
- Install a drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation puts water right where it’s needed, reducing evaporation loss and water runoff. Plus, you’ll grow fewer weeds! If you don’t have drip irrigation, water early in the morning to minimize evaporation loss. Check your sprinkler heads frequently and adjust to minimize water runoff on sidewalks and driveways. Adjust watering times to avoid saturating and subsequent runoff.
- Reduce the area of lawn in your landscape, or resolve to let it go dormant in summer. Lawns are among the thirstiest areas in the landscape.
These are just a few ways you can reduce the amount of water you need for a happy, healthy landscape.