San Diego County uses an enormous amount of water keeping our landscape green even though we live in a practical desert. Here are some ways you can help protect our water while giving you plants the juice they need.
1. Water your plants properly.
Overwatering is almost as common as under watering plants. Too much water robs your plants of the oxygen they need to keep their roots happy, leading to symptoms that look like under watering and starting a vicious cycle.
2. Turn off your sprinklers when it rains.
This should be obvious. Rain is falling from the sky. For free. Don’t use our expensive-pumped-over-a-mountain water to irrigate when you don’t need to.
3. Get a smart controller.
If you don’t have the wherewithal to change your irrigation rates with the season and weather conditions, they now make smart irrigation controllers that do it automatically. THese smart controllers will look at current weather conditions to adjust the irrigation to meet your landscape needs. It’s like a robot that saves you water and money.
4. Mulch your landscape.
Mulch such as straw or bark help retain water by keeping the sun of the bare soil. You’ll use less water, and it looks better anyway.
5. Rip out your front lawn.
Honestly, when is the last time you lounged on your expansive front lawn? Your backyard is where all the BBQing and kids running around happens. Set yourself apart from your neighbors by planting native plants in your front yard. Your house can look like Torrey Pines State Park saving you a $15 parking fee every day.
6. Rain Barrels.
Capture irrigation water for free using rain barrels. You’ll be amazed at how much water runs off your roof. Use this water to irrigate your landscape. Almost every area in San Diego COunty has rain barrel rebates. You should use them.
7. Use drip irrigation for your veggie garden.
Drip irrigation gets water to the plant roots, where they need them. It uses less water to irrigate the garden, and you don’t have the stand there all day with a hose watering the whole area.
8. Manage pests properly.
Learn about integrated pest management to discover ways of managing your garden pests in environmentally sound ways. UC Davis has a great resource here: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/
9. Reduce your yard waste.
Unless you live in an area that has green trash cans, all the yard waste you throw into the garbage makes its way to the landfill. In addition to clogging the landfill, it decomposes releasing methane, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. Compost your yard waste, or use a mulching mower that returns nutrients back into your lawn.
10. Rip out your lawn.
I know I mentioned this already with number 5, but seriously. Get rid of that lawn. Grassy lawns were invented in the 1500s in England. It rains every month there. Grass just grows. Here? We have to use incredible amounts of water and fertilizer and pesticides to help our lawns look green. It doesn’t make sense to pump water up and over a mountain to give it to grass that doesn’t even like it here.