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Best Watering Practices during a Drought

October 12, 2011

Even though some folks have plenty of water, it is always a good idea to remember how to manage this sometimes scarce and precious resource. Conservation is key when irrigating your garden and lawn, especially during times of drought. Luckily, there are simple and effective ways to use water wisely and make the most of your valuable supply.

In your garden:

Build Great Soil: Amend soil every time you plant to improve growth and moisture holding capacity by mixing in an inch or two of Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Garden Soil, which contains a pre-mixed blend of rich organic materials, specially formulated to increase the water holding ability of soil by up to 25%.

Timely & Gentle Feeding: Miracle-Gro LiquaFeed combines watering with gentle feeding for all your flowers, vegetables, perennials, shrubs and even containers. It’s the convenient way to nourish all plants with both water and nutrients during dry conditions. For continuous feeding for up to three months, try Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed plus Moisture Control. It helps save water by allowing moisture to penetrate the soil better than it can on its own, helping to make the most of this precious resource.

Water Judiciously: Water after planting and when needed (before leaves wilt). If you do not already have one, consider installing a drip irrigation system to keep plants from drying out. When additional watering is necessary, do so in the morning. Watering from 6:00 to 10:00 a.m. is best, due to less wind and cooler temperatures, for soil to absorb the water. When watering, remember to water deeply making sure the soil is moist by inserting a finger a few inches into the soil. Listen for the weekly weather forecast and use a rain gauge to determine if you are getting the recommended inch of water a week from rainfall.

Try Containers: Reduce watering chores by choosing light-colored, non-porous containers such as plastic or glazed pottery. Protect pots from full sun and wind. Plant containers using Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix to help containers hold water better. Large pots helps keep plants from becoming root-bound quickly and thirsting for water. The more room plants have to grow, the less watering needed.

Mulch Everything: Whether your garden is in the ground or in containers, apply a two to three inch layer of Nature Scapes Advance mulch around all plants—vegetables, shrubs, perennials, flowers. This holds more moisture in the soil longer for your plants, keeps water-stealing weeds away by blocking access to sunlight, and directs water down towards the soil, allowing it to absorb water better.

In your lawn:

Water Sensibly: Take advantage of nature’s sprinkler and rely on rain to water the lawn. When rainfall is sparse, as it is in times of drought, the best rule of thumb is to water ½ inch, 2 days per week, so that the top 6-8 inches of soil remains moist.

Be sure to follow watering restrictions in your local area. For example, here are the restrictions for Texas, a state that has experienced lots of dry weather this year:

http://www.tceq.texas.gov/drinkingwater/trot/droughtw.html

Feed: Feed your lawn if you are able to irrigate or once rainfall returns, to help grass begin to recover. Feeding your lawn will strengthen its root system and give it the nutrients it needs for a speedy recovery. It will also help protect the yard against heat and drought in the future—a well-fed lawn just does not get as thirsty.

Practicing water-smart techniques in your garden and lawn will help keep your landscape thriving while conserving Mother Nature’s primary resource.

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