Summer is just around the corner—time to start thinking about your gardening habits! Here are 10 sustainable gardening tips you can use to maintain your landscaping during the warm months and reduce your water use and runoff.
- Check your irrigation systems are not spraying water on sidewalk or beyond the yard: The untreated water from your sprinklers flows into storm drains and your local waterways. Adjust your water pressure on your sprinkler system to avoid over watering that causes runoff.
- Use a Landscape Watering Calculator: Take the guesswork out of your gardening and use the City of San Diego’s free Landscape Watering Calculator to create a watering schedule based on your zip code, soil, and sprinkler type in your irrigation zone: http://apps.sandiego.gov/landcalc/
- Inspect your sprinkler heads: Once a month, check and adjust your watering system to make sure your sprinklers aren’t dripping, broken, or watering hardscape (the sidewalk, your driveway, etc.).
- Cluster your plants: Planning a garden? Reduce your water use by clustering plants with similar water requirements together—also known as hydrozoning.
- Use drought-tolerant landscaping: Lawns take up a lot of water. Drought-tolerant and California native plants are great lower-water alternatives to replace your lawn with.
- Use mulch: Mulch not only looks nice, but it also helps soil absorb and maintain water, and reduces runoff so your garden can thrive.
- Use a broom to clean: Instead of using your hose to spray off your hard surfaces like your driveway or patio, use a broom instead to reduce your water use and prevent runoff.
- Water at sunrise or sunset: Soil can absorb and retain moisture better when the temperature, wind, and when evaporation rate is lowest in the day.
- Install Drip Irrigation: Drip irrigation is a slow, targeted watering method that gets right to the roots. It saves on water by only watering what needs to get watered (plant roots vs leaves or flowers), and it reduces nutrient runoff.
- Don’t water when it rains: Avoid overwatering by installing rain sensors. Rain sensors will shut off your irrigation system when it detects rain and will turn back on once the sensor dries out.
- Be sure to check with your local agencies for resources specific to your region
- City of San Diego free water survey programs
- WaterSmart landscape educational workshops and classes
- Water conservation rebates