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1.      Adjust sprinklers to avoid watering pavement and other things that do not grow.

2.      Do not water when it is windy or raining.

3.      Avoid daytime watering. It is best to water between midnight and sunrise.

4.      Sprinklers are great for grass, but use drip irrigation or soaker hoses on flowers, shrubs, gardens and trees.

5.      Spread mulch around flowers, shrubs, trees and garden plants to retain soil moisture.

6.      Do not plant grass on steep slopes.

7.      Do not put grass in areas less than 10 feet wide.

8.      Hand-water dry spots rather than over-watering the entire lawn.

9.      Install a shutoff nozzle on your hose.

10.  Xeriscape (i.e. place native, drought resistant plants where they will get the most water and light naturally).



 Maintain three to five inches of mulch on their landscape. Mulch holds moisture in the soil and prevents evaporation from the soil surface. Fine-textured mulches, such as pine straw, mini-nuggets and shredded hardwood mulch do a better job of conserving moisture than coarse-textured mulch. Apply mulch to as large an area as possible under the plant. Remember the roots of established woody ornamentals extend two to three times the canopy spread. Consider placing two to three sheets of newspaper under mulch. Pull back existing mulch with a leaf rake, moisten the paper and rake back the mulch over the newspaper. This practice will help retain moisture.

Use a hand-held hose to apply water only to those plants that show signs of wilt. Priority should be given to newly planted trees and shrubs (those installed within the past four months). Water these plants every seven to 10 days during the absence of rainfall.

 Avoid shallow watering. The worst thing one can do for plants is to water them frequently and shallowly. Shallow frequent watering encourages a weak root system and reduces the drought tolerance of plants.

 Direct water to the roots not the leaves. Avoid wetting the foliage of ornamental plants if possible. Wetting the foliage encourages diseases and results in evaporative water loss.

 Use drip or trickle irrigation or a soaker hose.  Drip irrigation uses 50% less water than conventional sprinkler irrigation and applies water slowly and directly to the root system.

 Install a timer and a rain sensor on outdoor irrigation systems. A rain sensor detects when rain is falling and turns the irrigation system off and on. Rain sensors are add-on equipment, but are inexpensive and usually re-pay their cost in water savings in a couple of years. If the existing system does not have a rain sensor, one can purchase it at a local home improvement store. You can install it yourself or have an irrigation contractor install one for you. Place the rain sensor in a location not covered by building eves and that does not get hit with irrigation water. For homes, a location where there are no trees for interference attached to the roof edge works well. Let rainfall be the main water source for your landscape whenever possible. The easiest way to make good use of rainfall is to have a rain sensor connected into your control system. Of course, irrigation needs will change from year to year according to how much rainfall occurs. Watering needs also change with the seasons. A good controller will let you adjust for the seasons by using a percentage conversion on the standard program.

For tips on maintaining healthy lawns and gardens while using less water, information of indoor water audits, and many creative ideas about conserving water in Georgia, go to Conserve Water Georgia at www.conservewatergeorgia.net/. Additional information and related educational materials can be found at http://www.gadnr.org/; and http://www.caes.uga.edu/topics/disasters/drought/.





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