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Train Your Landscape to be Water-Wise

Spring is the perfect time to prepare your landscape for the summer watering season. Did you know that in Medford about 50 percent of our total water usage is used on our lawns and gardens? That’s a lot of water! Fortunately, there are ways you can improve the efficiency of your landscape watering by completing a few simple tasks in the spring before the heat of the summer sets in.

To promote a water-wise landscape with a healthy root system, consider the following practices:
  • Avoid excess wateringDuring the months of April and May and sometimes June, spring rains can provide water for our landscapes. Watering in addition to the spring rain can “spoil” your landscape and it can learn to expect excess water going into the summer. Pay attention to the weather and don’t water if there is rain in the forecast.Sprinkler Don't
  • Pruning and cleaning is a simple way to start up positive and healthy growth for the year. Cleaning any dead debris away will allow the new growth to flourish and water to reach the roots effectively. 
  • Test your system – Testing your irrigation system will help you assess if you may need to replace or repair any parts of your irrigation system. Getting this task done now will help ensure that your system is up and running efficiently before the hot summer months.
    • Inspect Check your system for clogged, broken, or missing sprinkler heads. If you're not the do–it-yourself type, go with a pro.
    • Connect Examine points where the sprinkler heads connect to pipes or hoses. If water pools in your landscape or you have large wet areas, you could have a leak in your system. A leak about as small as the tip of a ballpoint pen can waste as much as 6,300 gallons of water per month.
    • Direct – Are you watering the driveway, house, or sidewalk instead of your yard? Redirect sprinklers to apply water only to the landscape.
    • Select – An improperly scheduled irrigation controller can waste a lot of water and money. Update your system's schedule every two weeks throughout the summer and turn the system off if rain is in the forecast. Call 541-774-2460 during the watering season or check our Infoline for updated weather and controller scheduling information.
  • Add mulch & aerate – Completing tasks such as aerating, amending soil, and adding mulch will sustain healthy soils that cycle nutrients, minimize runoff, and retain water.
  • Reduce nitrogen fertilizer (it can cause shallow rooting) and increase potassium fertilizer to enhance drought tolerance.Water-Wise Gardening
  • Add a pop of color – If you are confident that Mr. Frost is retired for the year, this can be a great time to replace lawn areas with new plants. Plant natives or water-wise plants and add mulch to your landscape to help lock in moisture and minimize evaporation.
Check out the Medford Water Commission’s Water-Wise Landscaping website, medford.watersmartgardening.com, for more ideas on how to create a landscape that is healthy, attractive and uses less water. For more information on water conservation programs, visit medfordwater.org or call 541-774-2436.  

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