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Save water and your landscape, too

Governor's emergency declaration is a reminder: Conserve now

Sprinkler hed and green grass
This is a high-efficiency rotary sprinkler head. It sprays
large droplets of water rather than fine mist.
(Photo courtesy of Hunter Industries)

Get ready for a water-wise summer.

Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency in two counties – Sonoma and Mendocino – that have seen their watersheds hit hard by lack of rain as well as by wildfires. But Newsom decided not to declare a similar emergency for the whole state – even though most of California had an extremely dry winter.

Newsom’s declaration recognized “drought or near-drought throughout many portions of the State,” but he held off on imposing any water conservation mandates. For now, that’s going to be up to the individual water providers.

So, the good news: We’re not officially in a drought – yet. The bad news? Reserves are very low. Unless we see some extremely wet weather very soon, water conservation mandates may still be enacted later this year.

What’s a Sacramento-area gardener to do? Be prepared. Start conserving now by cutting down on water waste.

Some simple steps can add up to huge savings – in both water and money, according to the Regional Water Authority, the umbrella organization over Sacramento-area water providers.

For example, high-efficiency rotary sprinkler heads can improve your sprinkler system’s efficiency by 25 to 30%. That adds up to thousands of gallons saved each month.

Changing sprinkler heads is an easy retrofit that you can do yourself. All you need is a screwdriver.

Other huge water savers include installation of drip irrigation and smart irrigation controllers. Drip systems cut down on evaporation and deliver water where it’s needed most – at the roots. Smart controllers factor weather into your landscape’s water needs, automatically making adjustments.

More good news: Rebates for irrigation upgrades are available from many local water providers.

Learn more here:

Be proactive in water saving and get your rebates now!

As for water restrictions, stay on top of your provider’s current guidelines.

For more information and links:


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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