Water-saving Secrets for Gardeners and Lawn Lovers

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Water-saving Secrets for Gardeners and Lawn Lovers

"Think green; save blue" will likely be the motto of environmentally aware gardeners and lawn lovers across the country this summer.

"Nothing shouts 'green' quite like a thriving garden or a lush landscape," Except, perhaps, a beautiful yard or garden that's been nurtured with green practices that conserve precious blue water."

It is possible to grow a thriving garden and nurture a lovely landscape while minimizing water consumption. A combination of native-friendly plants, smart agricultural practices, alternative water sources and efficient irrigation can help keep gardens and lawns growing healthy throughout dry summer months.

Here are some tips for conserving water in your corner of the great outdoors:

* Choose drought-resistant native plants for your landscaping needs. Your options won't be limited to cactus, either. From ornamental grasses to shrub roses, many drought-tolerant native species also offer bright color and visual appeal. Look for plants that do well in the driest conditions found in your geographic region. Your local Cooperative Extension office can help you identify plants that are right for your area.

* Groom soil for optimum water absorption and retention. I reecommend adding water-retaining organic material to your soil. You can also reduce evaporation by using mulch in landscaping beds.

* Look for alternative water sources other than the outdoor tap - such as recycling clean water used inside the house for cooking and other activities. Consider collecting roof runoff in a rain barrel for use in flower beds and vegetable gardens.
 
* Irrigate efficiently with low-volume irrigation systems and smart watering practices like a micro sprinklers for example.

* Design your landscaping to minimize evaporation. Windbreaks and fences slow the movement of the wind over the ground and the evaporation it causes.

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