Water saving tips for your smart garden

Toro’s Scott Donoho teaches a free City Gardening Class at A Smart Garden in Downtown

Sustainability Now News
by Maryann Ridini Spencer

Every year, one Saturday morning a month except for December, the City of Ventura and Ventura Water hold free Gardening Classes offering informative lectures and Q&As, practical water-wise tips, and fun, hands-on experience. Classes cover everything from smart controllers to the benefits of permeable surfaces, how to install an ocean-friendly landscape and everything from A to Z about designing and maintaining water-wise landscapes and balanced garden eco-systems.

At a recent Drip Irrigation Workshop that took place at A Smart Garden in Downtown Ventura, I spoke to Toro Company’s Scott Donoho about irrigation best practices for residents. Here are some of his top tips.

The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Eliminate Water Waste — Check Your Irrigation System For Leaks

Outdoor water use accounts for upwards of 30-60% of the total household water use. As much as 50% of the water used outdoors can be lost to wind, evaporation, and runoff. One of the most important things you can do to eliminate water waste is to observe your irrigated areas after watering to see what you are losing to the sidewalk, driveway, or street. Make adjustments to the clock by adjusting the run times. Instead of having one long run time break them up into two run times to allow the water to be absorbed instead of trailing off onto impervious surfaces.

Adjust Your Irrigation Schedule So You’re Not Watering Your Hard Surfaces

If you discover that the hard surfaces around your yard (your driveway, sidewalk, patio) are saturated, or that water is flowing from your yard into the street, check your irrigation system to make sure water is directed into your landscape. Additionally, adjust your irrigation clock and make any necessary adjustments.

Repair and Design Your Landscape Before Making Irrigation Changes

Find out what isn’t working with your irrigation and make the appropriate repairs. Then, think about the changes you may want to make in your landscape and the uses you’ll require. If you’ll be making small changes and feel confident about making them, do it yourself. However, if you decided to remove your turf, or make other significant changes, consult with a C-27 Licensed California Contractor to discuss your ideas and to plan out what type of an irrigation system will work best for your needs.

Eliminate Plant Stress and Over-Watering

Since Ventura has a mandatory limitation allowing residents to water only twice per week, if you start to see stress in your plants (i.e., they are turning brown or look wilted), it may be that you are watering too little.

If you see that the top layer of your soil is always saturated, it may be that you’re watering too much.

As a reminder, the City of Ventura remains in a stage 3 water shortage event. The following activities are prohibited and are considered a violation of the City’s Water Waste Ordinance.

Be mindful to:

  • Never allow water to run and be wasted during outdoor use
  • Limit the use of potable water irrigation to two days per week
  • Fix water leaks (Don’t allow water leaks to persist for more than 48 hours)
  • When using a handheld hose, use an automatic shutoff nozzle
  • Don’t operate fountains unless the water is recirculating
  • Never hose down hardscape surfaces such as driveways and sidewalks
  • Don’t irrigate your outdoor landscape during (and within) 48 hours of measureable rainfall.

Sustainability Now News is a new column in the Breeze by Award-Winning Screenwriter, Author, Producer, TV and Print Lifestyle Journalist Maryann Ridini Spencer with a focus on the environmental, social, economic, and cultural pillars of sustainability covering green practices, programs, news and events, industry leaders, green business, and healthy living ideas.

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