The Oregon State University Extension Service offers the following tips to conserve water in gardens and yards during dry summer months:
- Water your lawn more deeply and less frequently. If you typically water three to four times per week, it’s okay to cut that to one to two times per week.
- Plant drought-tolerant turf grass. Tall fescue is hardy, wide-bladed and deep-rooted. Perennial ryegrass and creeping fescue can also tolerate some dryness.
- Choose drought-tolerant plants such as creeping zinnia and sea poppy for your landscape. Native plants such as the Oregon iris and Pacific wax myrtle tolerate dry summers well.
- For most plants, watering deeply and close to the roots is more important than frequency. Study each plant’s watering requirements. For vegetables, soak soil about six inches deep. Water to a depth of about a foot and a half for shrubs. Trees need water about two feet deep.
- Mulching is critical because it improves soil structure, helps retain water in the ground and reduces weeds. Use compost-based mulches for vegetables and woody mulches for ornamental plants. Spread the mulch about two to three inches thick on the soil around your garden.
- Water early in the morning before the day heats up.
- Use an efficient irrigation system, such as soaker hoses or drip irrigation. If you choose a sprinkler system, select a low-pressure, in-ground system that does not shoot up in the air.