With very little effort, you can be a water-wise gardener.
Mulch the flower and vegetable beds
Shredded bark, wood chips, compost, chopped leaves and grass clippings keep the soil cool in summer, help retain moisture and reduce weeds.
Establish watering priorities
Avoid overhead sprinklers. Water droplets on leaves may cause sunburn.
Vegetables and other food crops would be at the top, followed by annual floral displays and containers. Foods crops and annual floral displays can be watered every week to 10 days. Many perennials will survive a few weeks without water. Well-established shrubs and trees can go a couple of months. Newly planted trees, shrubs, perennials and lawns need adequate water — about 1 inch every week — until they are established, usually two or three years. Established lawns can go six weeks or more without water. Lawns go dormant and will revive with rainfall or watering.
Water the soil, not the plant
Use a showerhead nozzle at the end of the hose and place it at the base of the plant to water. Water early in the morning, when evaporation is less likely. Avoid overhead sprinklers. Water droplets on leaves may cause sunburn. Overhead watering also can contribute to foliar diseases, such as fungus. Drip irrigation systems or soaker hoses can be snaked through the garden to deliver water right to a plant’s root zone, where it will do the most good. How long to water depends on your particular landscape. An easy test: stick your finger in the soil and if it’s moist to at least the second knuckle, that’s about an inch of water.
Keep weeds under control
Weeds rob desirable plants of water and other nutrients. Preen Garden Weed Preventer keeps weeds from germinating for up to three months. For food crops, apply Preen Natural Vegetable Garden Weed Preventer to keep weeds from germinating for up to six weeks. Always read and follow the label directions.
Make sure you have the right plants in the right place
Plants that need full sun will not do well in a shady area and those that need shade, will fry in the sun. Placing plants in the wrong place also stresses them, making them more susceptible to disease and insect damage. Keep in mind that it’s almost always better to water too little than too much.
Consider using native plants
Plants that are native to your state or region, or those that have been hybridized from native plants, are well adapted to temperature swings, insects, diseases, droughts and other environmental factors. Try to select natives and other plants that have low water needs and can weather dry conditions.
Click here for three plants that can take the heat without a lot of water.