Tips on dealing with the drought

Wed, 06/06/2007 - 7:41am
By: The Citizen

Due to drought conditions across Georgia, the Director of the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has declared a level two drought response for the entire state. The declaration requires that Georgians immediately follow a more stringent outdoor water use schedule.
The level two drought response schedule is as follows:

• Odd-numbered addresses may water only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, midnight to 10 a.m.

• Even-numbered and unnumbered addresses may water only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, midnight to 10 a.m.

This rule doesn’t apply to the capture and re-use of cooling system condensate or stormwater or the re-use of graywater in compliance with local ordinances. It also does not apply to irrigation of personal food gardens, or newly installed (in place less than 30 days) landscapes, which can be watered on any day, as long as it is between midnight to 10 a.m.

The rule also doesn’t apply to golf courses or landscapers, irrigation contractors, garden centers, car washes and others whose use of outdoor water is essential to business.

Here are some tips to protect your lawn and garden.

• A slight adjustment to your lawn mower can drastically increase turf survival druing a drought. Encourage deeper rooting by raising the mower blade during dry weather. Cutting grass a little higher raises lawn survival rates and decreases water demand. Sharp blades also help reduce the need for water because dull blades shred leaf tips, causing the turf to use more water than necessary.

Water only once a week. When it hasn’t rained, a deep soaking every week will provide your plants with plenty of moisture.

• Soak, don't sprinkle. When you water, aim the nozzle at the base of plants so more water will reach the roots.

• Don't water in the heat of the day. You will only lose water to evaporation. If you have an automatic system, set it to come on in the early morning hours between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m.

• Turn off sprinkler systems when it rains. Install an inexpensive rain sensor shut-off switch.

• Mulch! Using pine straw, bark chips or ground hardwood mulch on the roots of plants and trees helps the soil retain water.

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