While it may feel as though summer is winding down, record-high temperatures in much of the country would argue that summer is still very much alive and kicking.  Additionally, with this fall forecasted to be a rather toasty one, It would appear as though homeowners, as well as homeowners associations, may need to rethink their typical landscaping and yard maintenance routines for the foreseeable future.  With that in mind, here are some simple, yet effective tips for keeping green spaces lush and healthy, all while conserving water during the summer months for homeowners and associations alike.  

Manage your Sprinklers

The position of your sprinkler heads is an important, yet often overlooked, element of yard-care.  Be sure that, when your sprinkler system is running, that the water is actually hitting your yard or grassy areas, rather than the sidewalk or street.  At the beginning of the season, carefully position each individual sprinkler head so that you are achieving maximum coverage and efficiency, with minimal effort.  Be aware, however, sprinkler positioning is not a “one and done” task.  Over time, sprinkler heads can be knocked off course, so to speak, either by kids, pets, mowing, gremlins, or any number of things.  It would behoove the prudent homeowner and the attentive board member entrusted with such responsibilities, to take a moment to observe their system fully cycle through every so often, to be sure that every precious drop is hitting its intended mark, rather than the pavement.  The better positioned your system is, the less water you will have to use, thus saving you some money on your water bill, all while doing your part to conserve that precious H2O.    

Be Flexible with Your Routines.

For many, sprinkler systems fall into the category of “set it and forget it” chores.  We take the time to carefully set up each zone, the days it will run, the length of time, etc., and then do not think about it again until the first threat of frost.  While this may feel like the most convenient course of action, it is not actually the best plan for your wallet or the environment.  In order to do the best by your yard and greenspaces, you should be altering your system’s routine often, based on temperatures and precipitation in your area.  Be honest, we have all laughed as we drive by the house who has their sprinklers going as it rains. Yet, you may be thinking, well, I can leave my system as is and just welcome a bit of help from Mother Nature when she provides it. In reality, more is not always better.  If your grass or plants get too much water, it is possible that they will not be able to receive enough oxygen, and can actually suffocate (tragic, we know).  Too much water can also leave your foliage more susceptible to disease and overgrowth of weeds, none of which are optimal outcomes.  The solution?  Be aware of weather changes and adjust your watering routine accordingly.  If it has rained within the past 24 hours, you’re probably safe to give your system a day off.  

Mulch

Although we tend to focus our attention on grass when we think about our lawn care routines, whether you are a thrifty homeowner, or a water-conciors board member, mulch can be a best friend.  It is inexpensive, easy to use and, best of all, can help you spend less time and money watering throughout the warmer months.  Spread a layer of mulch around the base of plants in your yard and garden. It is best to do this early in the season, but after plants have sprouted and the soil has warmed from snow and frost.  Mulch allows the soil to retain more moisture that would otherwise be lost to evaporation and keeps soil cooler as temperatures rise.  This will keep your plants happy, healthy and will allow you to water less frequently, while keeping pesky weeds from germinating and taking over your space.  As organic mulches break down overtime and eventually decompose, they can add to the structure of the surrounding soil, improve drainage and can aid in its ability to hold on to nutrients.  Additionally, adding mulch to your landscaping can leave your yard or green spaces with a more polished, professional look, an added bonus, indeed.