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The right way to water garden and lawn



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Make an intelligent plan to get the most out of your garden.


Alina Bradford / CNET

Your garden needs less water than you think. Whether there is a drought in your area or you just want to save your water bill, there are many ways to use less water while still maintaining a healthy garden.

Here's a smart plan on how to make the most of your garden without wasting it.

Water Less But Deep

Many people think you need to water your plants every day to keep them healthy, but that just is not true. Give your plants at least 1

inch of water during a weekly irrigation. If it rained recently, you can pour even less.

The key to irrigation once a week is to pour "deep". This means that you water slowly so that it has a chance to sink into the ground instead of draining or evaporating. Deep irrigation also promotes root growth, making plants more resistant to high temperatures.

To achieve deep watering, use drip hoses or set your automatic sprinklers to run for a short while, pause to lower the water, and continue watering. (If that sounds too complicated, read the section on intelligent, automated solutions.)

Be sure to measure. As I mentioned earlier, you want to let at least one inch of water around your plants. Place a simple rain gauge in the middle of your yard to measure how much moisture your plants receive during a timed irrigation session. Adjust the watering time accordingly. If you do not feel like going outside to check the rain gauge, you should consider a digital version, such as a rain gauge. For example, models from AcuRite, Oregon Scientific, or La Crosse Technology that send readings to your phone.

When using a soaker tube, it can be hard to guess how much water your plants will get. There is a simple solution. Turn off the dirty water hose for one hour. Then dig into the ground to measure how far the water has penetrated. If the water is not deep enough, watered and controlled. Each type of soil and planting location will be different, so experiment until you hit the sweet spot.

Save drinks for the morning

Early morning is the best time to water your plants. There is less sun and wind to evaporate the moisture before your plants are fed, saving overall water. Morning watering also gives the plants the fuel they need to thrive all day long.


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Getting rid of weeds

Daily weeding can help save water. Weeds steal moisture from your plants, so they need to be watered more often, according to the University of California.

When weeding the weeds, you should cover the soil around your plants with water-permeable landscaping materials such as ECOgardener or GardenMate. These substances block the growth of weeds while allowing water to reach the roots of your plants.

Let technicians do all the work

If you're convinced your vegetables or flowers need more than one watering a week, invest in a moisture monitor such as the sPlant Soil Tester or the Flower Care 2. These monitors will alert you when the soil around your plants is dry, either through an app or a warning light system. You can flood without knowing it.

You can also set up an intelligent sprinkler system that will operate your sprinklers according to weather conditions to prevent flooding and eliminate guesswork altogether. The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Control Generation 3 and the Blossom 8 are both good choices. Such systems also take into account the many factors – soil type, soil quality, weather, sunshine, and even landscape type (such as the side of a hill) – that affect the way your garden grows.

You automatically adjust your sprinklers to water when your plants need it. You can also track irrigation using an app on your smartphone or with smart wizards like Alexa and Google Assistant.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 30, 2018 and has been updated.


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