Outdoor Water Conservation Tips - Bellingham, Washington
OUTDOOR WATER CONSERVATION TIPS Smart Watering Having a green lawn in the How much water does my blade setting high. This will summertime is a priority for lawn need? Typically most promote longer and healthier many people. The nice weather Northwest lawns need only 1- roots. Leave the grass clip-Water deeply but less frequently to reach invites you outside to garden, inch of water per week. To find pings on your lawn when it’sthe root zone and allow your lawn to absorb play, barbecue, and entertain. out how long it takes your dry. As these clippings breakthe water. Early morning watering reducesevaporation loss. Trying to achieve that green sprinkler to supply this down, they add nutrients and lawn, however, can sometimes amount, simply set out several moisture to the soil, resulting TIPS FOR A HEALTHY, lead to over-watering and dam- containers (tuna cans work in a healthier lawn. GREEN LAWN: age to roots. Outdoor water- great) throughout the lawn, When is the best time to ing can be a burden on the and run a sprinkler for 15 min- water my lawn? How long 1. Build healthy soil! drinking water supply during utes. Using a ruler, measure should I water for? The best Soil rich in organic matter the dry summer months, as the average depth in each can. will better withstand pests time to water your lawn is in and drought conditions. water use doubles. It is esti- From this you should be able the mornings between 7 and By applying organic mated that nearly half of this to tell how long and how often fertilizers– you will use less 10am. Watering during this in the long run and not water is wasted; lost to evapo- to water each week. time reduces the amount of pollute our lakes, streams, ration, runoff and over- and bay with pesticides. What kind of grass do I have water lost to evaporation, and watering- so it’s important that, and how often do I need to minimizes the potential for 2. Reduce soil compaction Lawns need to breathe and when you do water, you water mow it? The prominent kind fungus to grow from watering have proper drainage. smart! This means watering of grass west of the Cascades is in the evening. Watering your Using mechanical aerators, during the appropriate time ryegrass, (often mixed with fine lawn less frequently will help top dressing, and overseeding to reduce soil of day, for the appropriate fescue) or bentgrass which is your lawn grow deep roots that compaction. amount of time, and paying common in older lawns. Grass will enable it to withstand the 3. Keep grass height at 2”- attention to your lawn’s water- height should be about 2 to 3- dry summers and droughts 3” . Mow your lawn with the blades set high– grass ing needs. inches high, so mow with your typical in this area. that is 2-3” will promote a healthier root system and help retain soil moisture. Backyard Habitat Mentor Program 4. Leave grass clippings on The Bellingham Backyard niques. Information on how to add the lawn Dry grass Habitat Mentor program pro- features such as water, shelter and nest- clippings will act as a natural fertilizer and vides a free consultation by ing sites to increase wildlife in your yard mulch. trained volunteers on how to is also provided. 5. Water deeply and less create a wildlife friendly yard. often. Watering less often Benefits of Landscaping for but for longer periods of The consultation includes in- wildlife: time will encourage a formation on selecting and • Provides food and shelter for healthier, more drought- identifying native plants that local songbirds and other wild- tolerant lawn. Watering in life the morning will reduce attract birds, butterflies, am- For more information about the evaporation and help • Reduces the need for water and Bellingham Backyard Habitat Pro- prevent disease. phibians, and reptiles, as well chemical pest control gram, contact the Parks Volunteer Coordinator: as identification of invasive • Increases the biodiversity of our Phone: 360-778-7136 plant species and removal tech- urban area Email: email@example.com
Rain Barrels: A Gardener’s Answer to Dry Summer WeatherRainwater collection is not a changes affecting Northwest water conservation as well asnew concept. For thousands rainfall, make water conserva- stormwater management tool.of years, people have been tion something every one of us Collecting water is an easy wayusing collected rainwater in needs to think about and prac- to conserve water and saveareas where water is scarce or tice. money on your water bill.unsafe to drink. This simple Rain barrels are an excellent When purchasing or construct-technology continues to be way to practice water conserva- ing your own rain barrel con-used today around the world to tion. Plants love soft, chemical sider the following:provide water for drinking and -free rainwater, and by having Use a tight-fitting lid and screenirrigation. Collection systems and using a rain barrel, you are to keep leaves, debris, mosqui-range from 10,000-gallon cis- doing your part to conserve toes, animals and children out of There are many different styles and the water sizes of rain barrels available toterns to 40-gallon rain barrels. this finite resource. Rainwater meet each person’s preference and Use an overflow device such as a needsOur water source, Lake What- can be used for several pur- hose to direct excess water awaycom, supplies water to ap- poses: watering your lawn or from your house and foundationproximately 95,000 people. garden, washing cars or pets, and into a flowerbed or garbageFrom May through September, and watering indoor plants. can for extra storagethe City receives only 5 inches The water in your rain barrel Check the rain barrel frequently to ensure intake and overflowsof rainfall, which is only 1/5 of however, is NOT SAFE TO are not blockedthe total rainfall for the entire DRINK. Do not use this wa- Choose dark colored barrels toyear! As the City’s population ter for drinking, washing or reduce algae growth or paintcontinues to grow, Chinook cooking. white or translucent barrelssalmon listed as threatened Rain barrels are a dual-purposeunder the federal Endangered application– they are a greatSpecies Act, and the climate More information on rainwater harvesting can be found at:Rain Barrel Resources www.harvesth20.com Rain barrel retailers can be found locally and all across the United States, www.arcsa.org the internet has over one hundred websites to access and order from. Collected Rainwater can be used to: The city also offers workshops to water customers on how to build rain How much water can a • Water the garden barrels and water conservation education. Rain barrels can be con- rain barrel collect from my structed for about $15-$30. Materials can be purchased at any hardware roof? • Water your lawn store, and there are local suppliers in the area. The city published a Rain Remember that one inch of • Water your indoor plants Barrel Guide that can be found at www.cob.org. Rain barrels can also be rain falling on one-square foot (sf) surface equals .6 • Wash your car purchased through the city for $25. The 55-gallon barrels come complete gallons of water. • Wash your pets with a hose bib and a overflow valve. For more information about the If you have a 1,000 sf- • Fill your iron city’s rain barrel program or to purchase, contact Public Works Opera- surface, you could potentially tions at 778-7700 or firstname.lastname@example.org collect up to 600 gallons of water!
City of BellinghamPublic Works Operations Phone: 360-778-77002221 Pacific Street Fax: 360-778-7701Bellingham, WA 98229 E-mail: email@example.com XERISCAPE! For those who dread mowing your garden. Before you begin water-efficient landscape. the lawn and trying to keep it the transformation in your Plants should be grouped ac- green, one alternative is to yard, consider the following cording to similar water needs, remove the lawn altogether steps: so as not to compete with and xeriscape instead. Xeris- 1. Plan your garden each other. cape is a concept for saving Take some time to look around 4. Select native or drought- water in landscaped areas. your existing landscape, and tolerant plants Planting slow-growing, determine what aspects of it The Northwest has hundreds drought tolerant plants can you want to keep, and what of beautiful native plants that conserve water and reduce the parts you want to change. have adapted to our wet win- cost of maintaining your lawn Orin and Althea Soest Herbaceous What is the sun exposure in ters and dry summers. Plant- or garden. Xeriscaping uses Demonstration Garden, UW Horticul- your yard? Which areas are ture Center plants native to the area or ing these plants will maximize hot and sunny? Moist and your low-water use garden, as region that have adapted to shady? Are there high-traffic well as restore nature’s balance endure drought. Choosing areas? Sketching or writing out with beautiful native plants. appropriate plants for your For more information about Xeriscap- your vision will help you to ing or planting native plants, visit or garden, grouping them to- 5. Maintain your garden plan a garden that will thrive call your local nursery to see if they sell gether with other plants that When first planted, all plants drought-tolerant or native plants. when planted appropriately. have the same watering needs, need supplemental watering to The following websites are also great resources: and planting them in areas that 2. Improve your soil become established (1-2 years). www.xeriscape.org are favorable to their growth Amending your soil with nutri- Once established, little if any www.wnps.org/landscaping/plan are all part of a xeriscape. In ents and water will do wonders tselect.html supplemental watering will be addition to saving water, xeris- for your garden. Using organic needed. Regular weeding, ftp://dnr.metrokc.gov/dnr/libra ry/2003/gonative.pdf caping also saves you money material, compost or manure maintenance, and mulch appli- and gives you time to enjoy will improve your soils health cations will reduce competition dramatically- your plants will for water, and have your xeris- show their appreciation by cape looking great! establishing strong, healthy root systems. 3. Group plants together Water-Efficient Gardening Tips: by watering needs Plant in the fall and early spring to give plants a chance Understanding the soil require- to develop healthy roots ments, sun exposure, and wa- before the dry season. tering needs of each plant is Cover exposed soil with mulch to slow evaporation. important when planning a