Keeping Water Usage to a Minimum
How can I keep my use of water to a minimum and keep my lawn and garden looking good?
Your first decision is whether to water and keep your grass green and growing or allow it to go dormant. A dormant lawn will recover once cooler temperatures and the rain returns. Once your lawn goes brown (dormant) leave it that way until the rains return or you can water often enough to keep it growing throughout the remainder of the season.
Bringing a lawn in and out of dormancy is more harmful than the drought. Do not fertilizer or herbicide (weedkiller) dormant lawns.
If keeping the grass actively growing, water thoroughly and less frequently to encourage deep roots. Light frequent watering encourages shallow roots that are more susceptible to drought stress. Water early in the day to reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation.
The same watering techniques (thorough and less frequent) apply to your garden and landscape plants. Consider growing drought tolerant plants and mulching to reduce watering needs. Then prioritize your landscape plant's water needs. New plantings, paper birches, European mountain ashes and other moisture loving plants should be at the top of the watering list.
Don't forget about mature trees and shrubs. A thorough watering will help keep them healthy, reduce pest problems and may save their lives. Reduce watering needs by mulching the soil around plants with bark, woodchips, shredded leaves or other organic material. This conserves moisture, reduces weeds and means less watering for you.