Help conserve water through your gardening and lawn care practices - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Help conserve water through your gardening and lawn care practices

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(ARA) - As temperatures rise this summer, so do the risks of droughts. Water shortages can be a threat to your home and community. That's why it makes sense for Americans to conserve water as a matter of course. The best place to start is right in your own backyard.

What can you do to conserve water? Here are a few important tips:

* Capture rainfall - Make the most of the rainwater that Mother Nature provides. Rain barrels are effective in capturing the rain that falls on your roof; reuse the water for your plants. Other rain capture techniques, such as rain gardens, can help capture rainfall and keep precious water on your property to replenish the ground water.

* Water wisely - When rainfall is insufficient and supplemental watering is needed, do so effectively by:
- Aiming water at the base of the plant
- Watering in the morning to limit evaporation
- Using a moisture meter to ensure that roots have received enough moisture
- Allowing established grass to go dormant during periods of drought

* Landscape by local climate - Choose drought-tolerant plants that are native to your area. These will require less water under normal circumstances and be able to survive during parched times.

* Feed your grass and other plants - Well-fed plants will grow deep roots that capture and store water. A 10,000-square foot healthy lawn, for example, can absorb 6,000 gallons of water from a single rainfall. That's a month's supply of water for a household of two.

* Mulch is a must - A two- to three-inch layer of mulch around your plants will hold moisture in the soil and control storm water runoff. Mulching has other benefits, including preventing weeds and adding nutrients to the soil as it breaks down.

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company recognizes the important need for nationwide water conservation and, through water management technologies, the company has developed grass seeds, lawn fertilizers, potting mixes, soils and mulches to help consumers use less water when gardening and caring for their lawns.

Making these water conservation practices part of your backyard routine will help your area's water supply, particularly if everyone does their part.