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Blog posts tagged with 'drought'

Rain Rain, Where is the rain?

Take a look at the U.S. Drought Map below. It is easy to see that  much of the country is currently experiencing some kind of drought condition. In certain areas the conditions are mild, and in some of them things are more extreme and unusual. The map above shows the parts of the country that are experiencing water shortages as of May 1st of this year.

If you find yourself in one of these areas, what can you do to compensate for the lack of water, while continuing to keep your plants, not only alive but healthy and thriving?

Below we have a simple list of things that will help any garden or landscape thrive in a less-than-adequate watering environment. 

  • Use correct watering techniques: Water early in the day or late in the evening to reduce evaporation loss. Water less frequently, but for longer lengths of time, to encourage deep root growth. Check hoses for leaks before watering plants, and position sprinklers so they water only plants -- not the road or house. Some simple adjustments can save water and reduce runoff.
     
  • Condition the soil: If you add organic matter to clay and sandy soils, it will increase the penetrability of clay soils and the water-holding capacity of sandy soils.
     
  • Mulch the soil surface: This helps cut down on water loss due to evaporation. A two-inch layer of mulch or compost is recommended. Apply mulches to shrubs, trees, annuals, vegetable gardens and even containers.
     
  • Collect compost for mulching: Use food scraps, yard trimmings, and other organic waste to create a compost pile. Compost is a rich soil amendment that can help increase water retention, decrease erosion and replace chemical fertilizers.
     
  • Shelter container plants to conserve water: Move your container plants to areas with partial shade to keep them from drying quickly in hot windy areas.
     
  • Install a drip irrigation or micro irrigation system: A low-flow irrigation system can save up to 70 percent of all water used in garden care, making it a feasible way to water in drought conditions. Also many areas allow low-flow irrigation in gardens and landscapes even when there are watering restrictions.
     
  • Discourage competition: Pull any weeds to discourage competition for water. Consider a landscape fabric between the soil and your mulch to further reduce weeds.
     
  • Use rain barrels to collect rainwater: By using rain barrels to collect water you can eliminate the need to suck up water from your utility, but rather use what nature has given to keep your plants thriving when rain is more scarce. 

If you do all of these things, it will have an impact on your garden and landscape. It will also help when the rain is not falling quite as much as you need it too.

 

Summer Watering Tips

Summer is just around the corner.

For some of us that means some “Dog Days” ahead. For others, maybe not so bad. But one thing that is certain is that most of our country has been faced with drought issues for a few years now. From the Southwest to the Southeast, the presence of rain has been scarce.

 
In the U.S., 7.8 billion gallons of water are used daily for outdoor use, primarily for gardening and landscaping. These are staggering numbers.  
 
 
For those of us who like to maintain our lawns and gardens, there are a few things we can do to keep our yards looking great and, more importantly, conserve water.
 
 
Planting Tips
  • Use native plants to your area.
  • Choose low-water grass types.
  • Plant trees and shrubs to slow erosion and cool down the area.
 
Irrigation Tips
  • Hand watering is not very efficient.
  • Drip & Micro Spray Irrigation is best for all plants, flowers, shrubs, and trees.
  • Watering early in the morning is best.
  • Water the lawn, not the pavement, by adjusting the sprinklers.
  • Chemical fertilizers speed up the growth of lawns, not using them means less to water.
  • Raise the cut length of your mower. Taller grass shades the roots and promotes healthier turf & requires less watering.
  • Do not puddle the water by over-watering. Water less time and more often to give it time to soak in if you have harder soil types.
 
 
Use these great tips this summer and watch your lawn and garden flourish.
 
 
Remember, Mister Landscaper believes in conserving our most precious natural resource. It shows in every product we sell.
 
 
Join the discussion... Have you used these tips? Do you have any tips of your own? 
 
 
Reminder... April is our Blog Comment Contest. The winner of our contest will receive a fabulous Canon digital camera and a Mister Landscaper kit. All you have to do is leave a comment on any April blog post. The winner will be determined by the number of comments each contestant leaves. Each comment will represent one entry for our random drawing. Here is more information and a picture of the prizes.
 
Good luck to all! 
 

 

Drought Giving You Doubts?

In the past month alone in areas throughout Florida, droughts have had an impact on:

  • Fires, 
  • Relief, response, and restrictions, 
  • Tourism, and 
  • Water supply and quality. 
 
How about you? Is your area in a drought? How is your lawn doing? 
 
Mine? Let’s just say it’s an array of green and brown shades - mostly brown.
 
To be honest, I’ve had my doubts about whether I’ll be able to undo some of the damage. But it doesn’t stop me from trying. So here are some tips - for me and for you:
  • Plant more shrubs than annuals. Shrubs grow deeper roots than annuals and can withstand drier weather. Annuals do not develop deep roots as easily and are more susceptible to changes in weather.
  • Plant strategically. Evaluate your house and the natural flow of water surrounding your property to identify areas that naturally get more water than others. Position plants that require more water in high water traffic areas (for example, below the gutters). Those that don’t need as much water can be placed in drier areas of your yard.
  • Install drip irrigation. Products such as Mister Landscaper’s 50 ft. Micro Sprinkler Starter Kit keep the ground moist and provide continuous water supply to plants, shrubs, trees, gardens, and flowers.
  • Finally, don’t forget the mulch. It serves a greater purpose than just being visually appealing - it also maintains moisture in the soil. 
When used in combination, these tips should help us to lessen our doubts about the drought conditions. And we’ll get the added benefit of a greener, healthier, and more luxurious landscape.
 
 
Join the discussion
Has your area been in a drought? If so, how long? What are you doing to remove your doubts about the drought and put a little green back into your landscaping?
 
Increasing Awareness for Using Drip Irrigation

Most people who work in the landscape or gardening industry know about Drip Irrigation and Micro Irrigation.  It's been used in some agricultural areas for over 40 years and is increasingly being used by larger and larger farms and groves for everything from grapes to oranges.  This has proven to be a vast improvement on the goals of saving water and wise use of water by the industries that depend on it to survive.

In recent years, large landscape companies have also adopted Micro and Drip Irrigation as a way to water a variety of landscapes, keeping the plants well-nourished and saving 50% or more on water usage.  Everywhere you look you can see it, little black stakes in the ground with Micro Sprays hidden behind bushes, Drip Irrigation tubing stretching through landscaped flower beds. With ever-increasing awareness of conservation of water, and the importance of being wise with resources, this trend will continue to improve as time goes on.

All of these things are incredible on their own, but they are just the beginning.  Where Drip Irrigation is heading now is into the garden and landscape of the average homeowner.  Most homeowners shy away from trying to mess with installing irrigation, for fear that it is too complicated or that they will not do it right and create a disaster that will kill all of their plants. But with droughts at a record high, and the desire of many to establish home gardens, that mentality is quickly changing. 

The benefits of using Drip Irrigation and Micro Irrigation are tremendous.  It's not just about not wasting water.  The plants get what they need rather than too much water, which can lead to fungus growth and premature rot in the root systems.  Also, many areas in the country that are under drought conditions will allow home owners to use low-flow irrigation products in their landscapes and gardens, rather than sprinklers.

Right now, homeowners across the country are realizing the need to use water wisely and are looking to install their own Micro and Drip Irrigation systems .  We applaud that - and encourage others to do the same.  A difference can be made, one garden and landscape at a time!

 

 

Think Green Save Blue

Everyone spends a great deal of time and energy discussing the environment these days. Global warming, the oceans rising, strange weather events. Very few media events focus a great deal of energy on a much more serious problem, saving fresh water.  There are some parts of the United States where droughts are so bad that people are using rain buckets to collect fresh water so they can water their plants when there is no rain because using sprinklers are prohibited.

 

Water is a precious resource in our environment. All life depends on it. Growing populations and ongoing droughts are running our fresh water resources dry, causing natural habitats to decline and impacting our everyday use of water.

 

People in industrialized populations should feel obligated to pay more attention to how we are using water, and how we may be wasting it. We must bridge the gap between our understanding of how important water is to our survival and what we can do to ensure that we have an adequate supply of clean water for years to come.

 

Here are 10 easy and practical tips for thinking "green" by saving the "blue". 

 

1. Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street. 

 

2. Run your washing machine and dishwasher only when they are full, and you could save 1,000 gallons a month. 

 

3. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway or sidewalk and save 80 gallons of water every time. 

 

4. Only water your lawn when needed. You can tell this by simply walking across your lawn. If you leave footprints, it's time to water. 

 

5. When you clean your fish tank, use the water you've drained on your plants. The water is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, providing you with a free and effective fertilizer.

 

6. Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl, you have a leak. It's easy to fix, and you can save more than 600 gallons a month.

 

7. Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.

 

8. Wash clothes only when you have a full load and save up to 600 gallons each month.

 

9. When you give your pet fresh water, don't throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.

 

10. Choose new water-saving appliances, like washing machines that save up to 20 gallons per load.

 

For more tips on how to save fresh water in your day-to-day lives, go to http://www.wateruseitwisely.com.

 

Of course, Mister Landscaper recommends using their products to save water as well. By utilizing Drip Irrigation and Micro Irrigation in your landscapes and gardens, you can save over half the fresh water you use every time you water.  Imagine the impact that would make if everyone did that.