Loosened water rules help landscapers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Loosened water rules help landscapers

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February 6, 2008

Albany --  As spring planting gets ready to begin, Georgia is relaxing some of the state's watering restrictions.

Governor Sonny Perdue made the announcement in Atlanta before Georgia's Agribusiness Councils legislative breakfast.

It's expected to help landscaping businesses that suffered losses last year as a result of the drought. It could help you keep your yard alive.

Over the next two months, many will be getting their yards ready for spring. More flexibility in outdoor watering restrictions announced today by Governor Sonny Perdue was welcome news.

 "Last year our sales were down because of the drought and we lost a few plants because of the drought last year," said Jamie Williams of Mark's Greenhouse.

"I believe it will really help things for the spring and the industry as a whole in the state needs some help," says ABC Plant Nursery's Greg Daniell.

In south Georgia the current level two watering restrictions will still apply. Watering can be done on even and odd schedule between midnight and 10:00 a.m. In areas where restrictions were a level four. you can now hand water plants, on the even and odd schedule, for up to 25 minutes a day, between midnight at 10:00 a.m.

Hand watering is defined as one person with a garden hose that shuts off when the handle is released. Nurseries say, last year's strict restrictions have many looking for plants like palms, that don't need as much water.

"We've sold a lot of the juniper too, they're kind of water resistant, they don't take as much water as most of our other plants do," said Williams.

The Governor also lengthened the time newly landscaped yard can be watered. They can be watered up to three days a week on their assigned days for up to 10 weeks, but you've got to sign up with the Outdoor Water Use Registration Program.

"That's always good news because we can count on being able to water a little bit more for newer plants we put in," Daniell. said.

Landscapers say, it's better to do a little at a time than an entire yard, all at once.

 "My advice is try to limit, if you're going to, do a few things at a time, don't do so much, because then it gets overwhelmed," said Williams.

To keep your yard green and your plants alive if the drought persists. 

Governor Perdue today said he hoped the easement on restrictions would give consumers confidence to buy and retailers the confidence to stock shrubbery and trees.

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