Water Saving Techniques for Periods of Drought

Recycle Water

  • Reuse the water you use for cooking food such as corn and pasta. Do not use salted water, though, as salt will damage the plants. Let the water cool before pouring it on the plants.
  • Reuse your pet’s drinking water.
  • You can use the water that you bathe in and the water that you wash dishes with to water the plants. The soap will not harm the plants.
  • Water from a dehumidifier can also be used to water plants.
  • Set out containers to catch any rainwater. Also divert water coming down the rainspout towards a tree or shrubs.

Practice Effective Watering Habits

  • Do not water with an oscillating sprinkler. They waste water and often only water the foliage and do not allow the water to penetrate to the roots.
  • Do not spray plants with your thumb over the end of the hose for the same reason listed above.
  • Water SLOWLY and deeply. It is best to water plants by placing a hose at the base of the plant and running the water at a slow trickle (see watering instructions). It is better to water plants less often, with more water, than to water daily with just a shallow watering.
  • Soaker hoses are great and use substantially less water than any other watering practice. However, most people do not let them run long enough; they should run for at least 6 hours.
  • It is best to water early in the morning. The plants will use the water to survive the heat of the day and less water will be wasted through evaporation.

Set Priorities

  • Consider which plants need water the most and concentrate your efforts on them.
  • New plants and very old plants are most likely to die from drought. These should be watered first.
  • Do not waste water on your lawn. It is almost impossible to give it enough water and it will most likely just go dormant, not die, during the drought. Also, reseeding your lawn, if necessary, is usually less expensive than replacing plants.
  • Annuals and vegetables require a lot of water and may not be worth the effort at this point.

Do Not Fertilize Plants That Are Stressed

  • The plants need water – not fertilizer. Fertilizer makes plants grow faster. When a plant is stressed (due to lack of water), fertilizer will only worsen the problem by forcing the plant to use more energy producing new growth.

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