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Overwatering Is Out

Keep water in the yard, not the sidewalk.

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water efficient

Watering Your Garden in the Summer: Q&A with Maureen, Professional Gardener

Under the canopy of a California Friendly garden, I chatted with Maureen Taylor, a California native gardener and landscape designer, to find out the best ways to care for a California Friendly garden during a hot summer. Below are some gardening tips she shared with me that can help many Southern California residents:

Gnorman: How often should I water my garden over the summer?

Maureen: Gardeners should be adaptable and adjust their watering according to the weather to mimic how nature waters plants. Because it’s summertime, it’s natural to think that you have to water your plants more. But most California Friendly plants have adapted to drier conditions during the summer. Some species, such as oaks, are especially sensitive and can die from overwatering during a heat wave. To prevent this, check weather forecasts and water before a heat wave. Always water during the coolest time of the week. Watering during extreme heat can lead to fungus or even plant death!

Gnorman: How do I know when my plants need more water?

Maureen: Always check to make sure the soil is dry. You can test the moisture level of the soil by digging a little or using a soil moisture sensor (rebate for OC residents available here) to see if you have watered enough. If the soil is almost dry, it’s time to water again. The goal is to make sure water penetrates down to a foot or so when watering.

Gnorman: What else should I know about maintaining a California Friendly garden over the summer?

Maureen: Remember, summer in Southern California is the harshest season for plants. Gardeners should lay low, not plant anything new, and help plants get through their dormant season. Wait until the weather cools down so you can get back to planting and pruning.

Bonus Tip: Mulch is a multitasking tool that can help protect our waterways by preventing runoff while, at the same time, keeping plant roots cool during hot times. Mulch also conserves soil moisture, prevents weeds, and reduces soil erosion. You can find great deals on mulch through CalRecycle’s directory of Compost and Mulch Facilities.  Who knew mulch could do so much?

Thanks Maureen for the expert advice!

 

Maureen received her B.A. in Environmental Studies/Biology from UC Santa Cruz. After graduating she was hired by the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants, which expanded her love for nature into the realm of native gardening. Maureen now operates her own landscape maintenance and design business for clients in Southern California. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and making nature-inspired art.

Orange County: We’re Saving Water and Fighting the Drought!

Gnorman here bringing good news to you and your Orange County gneighbors!

Thanks to the California-wide effort to save water, officials have stated an overall 29% reduction of water use in May. I am proud to announce that Orange County has saved a collective 26% in comparison with May 2013! Congratulations gneighbors!

Here’s a special shoutout to Orange County’s second largest water district, the Santa Margarita Water District, which increased its savings from 3 percent to 18 percent in under a year. Furthermore, this summer, Santa Margarita will actively prevent overwatering by limiting outdoor watering to no more than 3 days and 36 minutes total per week. Gnorman heartily applauds their efforts.

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OC residents get familiar with their sprinklers

During my jaunts, I got to know a few of my neighbors and their lawns. I found that 50% of my OC neighbors either “rarely” or “never” saw their sprinklers running! Yikes! So I asked these folks to pick a watering day or night to keep an eye on their sprinklers to see if the water is staying on the lawn or running off. READ MORE »

Get efficient, put your lawn on a watering schedule!

Orange County residents are starting to do their part in being water efficient and reducing runoff by cutting back the number of days they water by 1 day per week (this is especially good if you are watering 3 or more days per week to begin with). Setting up a watering schedule can help those of us who may be overwatering get on the right track.

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