Tag Archives: garden

National Geographic’s 5 Ways to Save Yard Water

National Geographic recently posted a wise article on ways to replace your lawn with water-saving plants and other alternatives so that you don’t use as much water during this extreme Californian drought. Here is the list that they created to help you and your family save water in your home… ”

astroturf

  1. Astroturf– Made famous on sports fields, synthetic grass, or astroturf, is becoming an increasingly popular choice for homeowners, from California to Virginia. A lot of research has gone into the material in recent years, to make it softer underfoot and to reduce the temperature it achieves under intense sun.
  2. Groundcover– Instead of grass, a wide range of ground covers can be used to keep out weeds and reduce erosion, which would otherwise be a problem if people suddenly ripped out their grass. Alternatives include rocks and mulch, some of which can be locally sourced. Crushed shells are popular for properties near a beach. Sand also is an option, particularly for those going for a Zen garden look.
  3. Native plants– Many traditional nurseries offer plants that are native to a local area. Native plants are adapted to the local climate and require little or no watering to thrive, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. [They] also can provide habitat for local birds, mammals, and insects. They typically earn points for green certification systems like LEED or can help homeowners achieve a “wildlife friendly” designation from their state or a nonprofit.
  4. Drought-tolerant grasses & shrubs– In addition to native plants, homeowners also can choose from a wide range of drought-tolerant grasses and shrubs from around the world. Examples include lavender, sage, kangaroo paw, and tea tree.                                           cactusinfo
  5. Desert plants– People can exchange grass for such water-sippers as succulents and cactus. These plants are often widely available at nurseries, and they can be kept in pots and moved indoors during colder months in cooler climates. They can be used in large numbers or as accents.  “

To learn how to save water in your house as well as in your yard, visit Filtercon Technologies‘ website or call us at 800-550-1995.

Source:

5 Water-Saving Ways to Replace Lawns During California’s Drought. National Geographic. May 21, 2015.  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/05/150521-turf-terminators-xeriscape-california-drought-tolerant-lawns-water-savings/

Images:

1) suggestkeyword.com

2) cactusinfo.net

How Your Houseplants are Affected By Different Types of Water

houseplants

What’s the best way to make your houseplants grow strong and vibrant? Watering them. But often times, it’s easy to overlook what kind of water you’re feeding your plants. Tap water may cost less, but filtered water has many more advantages. Some tap water has harmful chemicals that can hurt you and your plants. Let’s take a look at the different types of water and their effects on houseplants…

Chlorine
Chlorine is often found in tap water and is used to kill diseases. Chlorine is a gas that evaporates out of water. That’s why you can smell chlorine. This has a terrible effect on houseplants and their growth. However, letting chlorine water sit and “breathe” for 24 hours before pouring it into your houseplants helps. Your water container also needs to be clean sot that the water going into your plants is pure.

Hard Water
There are some people whose tap water is what is called “hard water.” This simply means that the water has excessive amounts of minerals like magnesium or calcium. If this is your water, make sure not to use it on your houseplants.

Salt Water
Salt prevents the plants’ roots from absorbing water. This mineral forms around the plants’ cells, pulling water out of the plant as it starts settling in the soil. Although salt is found in tap water, the content is too low to be problematic.

Sugar Water
Unlike salt water, sugar causes bacteria to grow in the right environment. If you use this type of water, your houseplants will become unhealthy and die over time. It can also be a great place for fungus to grow, causing the same harmful effect on your plants.

Well Water
Well water nourishes houseplants. Since it comes from deep below ground, and it carries nutrients from the soil that plants need. It acts almost like a fertilizer, leading to greener and healthier plants. However, most people in urban areas are not privileged to this type of water.

boy

Bottled Water
This can get a little pricey. Not only that, but you never know where the water comes from or what types of contaminants are in its container.

Filtered Water
The best and most economical source for water is buying a whole house water filtration system. It provides chlorine free water that tastes great. Additionally, it removes heavy metals and pollutants that will give life back to your houseplants. You and your plants will benefit immensely from it.

Other notes: many times houseplants are killed due to over-watering. Before watering your plants, stick your finger in the soil about an inch down. If the soil is dry, water away. If the soil is still moist, there’s no need to water. Equally important factors to growing plants are sunlight and proper exposure.

For more information on whole house water filtration, visit http://www.filtercon.com or call us at 800-550-1995.

Images:

http://www.earthtimes.org/green-blogs/green-living/detoxifying-houseplants-21-May-11/

examiner.com

How to Clean Up Your Water

From the Natural Resources Defense Council, here are some tips

In Your Yard

gravel driveway

1. Decrease impervious surfaces around your home. Having fewer hard surfaces of concrete and asphalt will reduce runoff from your property. Landscape with vegetation, gravel or other porous materials instead of cement; install wood decking instead of concrete, and interlocking bricks and paver stones for walkways. Redirect rain gutters and downspouts away from buildings and to rain barrels and gardens, soil, grass or gravel areas. Planting vegetation at lower elevations than nearby hard surfaces allows runoff to seep into soil.

2. Use native plants and natural fertilizers. Native plants need less water, are more tolerant of drought conditions, cost less to maintain and provide habitat for birds and butterflies. Apply natural fertilizers and soil conditioners, such as compost, peat, rotted manure, and bone meal to stimulate plant growth and retain soil moisture. You can create your own compost; compost bins are widely available for purchase, or you can make your own. Composting decreases the need for chemical fertilizers, helps soil retain moisture, and diverts waste from landfills. If you don’t know how to compost, visit The Compost Resource Page or the EPA’s composting pages.

3. Don’t over-water lawns and gardens. According to the EPA, “nationwide, landscape irrigation is estimated to account for almost one-third of all residential water use, totaling more than 7 billion gallons per day.” Most obviously, limit irrigation to vegetated areas -– prevent overspray onto sidewalks, driveways, and street curbing. Avoid sprinkler irrigation on steep slopes and narrow strips that cannot be watered efficiently. Know how much water your lawn is getting by using a rain gauge to track precipitation and match the amount of water you apply to the actual needs of your variety of turf. For non-turf areas, use slow-watering techniques, i.e. trickle or “drip” irrigation systems and soaker hoses, which are 20 percent more efficient than sprinklers. Over-watering lawns not only wastes water, but can also increase the leaching of fertilizers into groundwater. Watering before the sun comes up, or after it sets, will also decrease the amount of water lost to evaporation.

Purchasing a Filtercon Whole House Water Filtration system can also redistribute the used water to your yard. Your freshly used filter water can improve the vegetation in the area. Check out Filtercon’s website for more details or call 1-800-550-1995 to speak with a Filtercon expert.

In Your Home

empty paint can

4. Recycle and dispose of all trash properly. Never flush non-degradable products — such as disposable diapers or plastic tampon applicators — down the toilet. They can damage the sewage treatment process and end up littering beaches and waters. And make sure to properly dispose of all pet waste from your property to keep it out of storm drains and water supplies.

5. Correctly dispose of hazardous household products. Keep paints, used oil, cleaning solvents, polishes, pool chemicals, insecticides, and other hazardous household chemicals out of drains, sinks, and toilets. Many of these products contain harmful substances — such as sodium hypochlorite, petroleum distillates, phenol and cresol, ammonia and formaldehyde — that can end up in nearby water bodies. Contact your local sanitation, public works, or environmental health department to find out about hazardous waste collection days and sites, or check Earth911.com for local recycling options. If a local program isn’t available, request one. Additionally, incorrect disposal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products leads to the presence of pharmaceutical residues in our waterways and, ultimately, our drinking water. To keep pharmaceuticals and personal care products out of waterways, never flush them down the toilet. The best way to dispose of these items is through “take-back” programs where drugs are returned to a facility that can dispose of them properly. Contact your local health officials or household hazardous waste facility to find out what options exist in your region.

6. Use nontoxic household products whenever possible. Discarding harmful products correctly is important, but not buying them in the first place is even better. Ask local stores to carry nontoxic products if they don’t already. For examples of safe substitutes for environmentally harmful household products, check EPA’s Greener Products website.

Maintaining Your Car

motor oil

7. Recycle used motor oil. Don’t pour waste oil into gutters or down storm drains, and resist the temptation to dump wastes onto the ground. A single quart of motor oil that seeps into groundwater can pollute 250,000 gallons of drinking water. If you don’t have a place to recycle used motor oil in your community, ask your local sanitation or public works department to create one. Check Earth911.com for local recycling options. When you buy motor oil, ask if the store or service station has a program to buy back waste oil and dispose of it properly. Keep up with car maintenance to reduce leaking of oil, coolant, antifreeze and other hazardous fluids.

8. Be “green” when washing your car. Skip the home carwash. Take your car to a professional –- professional carwashes are required to drain their wastewater into sewer systems, where it is treated before being discharged. This spares your local rivers and bays from the brake fluid, oil and automotive fluids that could otherwise contaminate your water. Many carwashes also recycle their wastewater, and use less than half the amount of water of a home carwash. Ask around to find a carwash that practices wastewater recycling. Alternatively, you can “wash” your car at home using a waterless carwash product.

In Your Community

beach pollution

9. Help identify, report and stop polluters. Join a local clean water or environmental group that monitors industries and sewage treatment plants that are discharging wastes. Local groups can be effective working together with state environmental agencies, EPA and national groups like NRDC to ensure that industries comply with regulations. To find a local clean water organization in your area, contact the Clean Water Network or Waterkeeper Alliance.

Original Article Link: Clean Up Our Water 

 

Hefner: Water conservation tips for the lawn and garden

wateringthepavement

Truckee Meadows Water Authority is asking residents to reduce their outdoor water use by 10 percent. What are some things you can do in your yard to accomplish this?

• Check your irrigation system regularly for breaks, split hoses or missing emitters all through the growing season. Make sure the emitters are still directed towards the intended plants. Make sure your sprinkler heads still are functioning properly and are aimed at your lawn, not the sidewalk or other paved surfaces.

• Check your hoses and hose couplings. Use washers at both ends of the hose to eliminate leaks. Use a spray nozzle at the hose end that provides a shut off. Do not let the hose run continuously while you are washing your car or hand-watering your plants.

• Don’t hose down paved or hard surfaces in your yard. If you must hose down hard surfaces, direct the wash water to your lawn or other plantings.

• If you don’t already have a drip irrigation system for your trees, shrubs, flower beds or vegetables, consider installing one. These systems can be automated with a timer to ensure adequate watering occurs and help prevent over watering.

• Direct your gutter downspouts to the landscaped portions of your yard, not a paved surface. Use what little rainwater we may get to water the plants in your landscape.

• Avoid watering your yard in the heat of the day, between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. and during windy conditions. Water your yard early in the morning or later in the evening. Water your lawn less often but deeply to encourage deep root growth. Sometimes, evening lawn watering can promote diseases that prefer high humidity. If you’ve had problems in the past, limit your lawn watering to early morning.

• Mow your lawn at the highest setting on your mower, ideally 3 inches or higher. Mowing high encourages deep root growth, which will help your grass tolerate heat and drought. Deep roots will enable your lawn to take up water from deeper in the soil. Mowing high also helps shade out weeds and reduces water losses from evaporation.

• Some people allow their lawns to go dormant in the heat. Lawns can survive on very little water, but when they go dormant, they turn straw colored or light brown. Some neighbors, homeowners associations and other entities don’t like to see brown lawns. But if it comes to making hard choices in your landscape, the trees and shrubs you have growing are a bigger investment than the lawn, so concentrate on watering them.

• Mulch can help reduce water losses from the soil and also reduce weeds. Apply mulch 2 inches to 4 inches thick around plants. Be careful not to pile up mulch around the stems of plants or trunks of trees and shrubs, as this can promote some insect pests and plant diseases.

• If you are designing a new landscape in your yard, this is not our first drought year and it won’t be our last. Your best bet is to design with drought in mind. Limit the turf areas. Group plants by their water needs and consider low-water use plants. Water deeply and less frequently. Install an automated irrigation system. Inspect and maintain your irrigation system regularly.

Author: Melody Hefner is the Urban IPM and Pesticide Safety program assistant for the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Have a gardening question? Ask a Master Gardener at mastergardeners@unce.unr.edu.
http://www.rgj.com/story/life/2014/07/18/hefner-water-conservation-tips-lawn-garden/12855121/
Picture Credit to UNCE