Last night in Denver, a steady rain fell. In February! Rain turned to snow--no doubt welcome by gardeners and people of good will concerned about drought. But the precipitation did not begin to quench Colorado's parched landscape.
With unseasonably warm temperatures, sunny days, and precious little moisture, gardeners will want to root themselves in drought strategies now and for the coming growing season.
The Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC) is alerting gardeners to consider practices that help conserve water and gardens alike.
"With a more serious drought looming over this growing season, the health of our plants may be more at risk. So now is a good time to think about the environment we can control, namely, our own back yards," said Becky Garber, director of communications for ALCC.
"This is why we've made such a big deal this year about winter watering. Giving plants the water they really need now maintains their stamina so they can emerge in the spring in a healthier state," Garber added.
As drought continues, the ALCC also urges the following landscape sustaining strategies:
• Use a mulching mower. "They chew up grass clippings and spread them on top of the lawn. The clippings act like natural mulch over the soil and help retain moisture--important in a drought year! Clippings will also decompose to provide nutrients so you need less fertilizer," said Garbed.
• Evaluate sprinkler system early in the season. "We should never waste even a drop of water and this year, there will be no drops to spare. Get a professional sprinkler system audit and do the most cost-effective fixes to make your watering efficient," Garber said. "Be sure to check out rebates from your water provider or city. We expect to see a lot of them this year."
• Downsize water needs; create new living space. "Are you watering parts of your yard you never even see or use? Maybe there's a better use for the space," said Garber. "Would you like to expand your outdoor living area, which might eliminate some landscape watering in the process? This would be a good year to make that happen."
Garber encourages gardeners interested in water-saving plans and water-smart plants to contact professionals through the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, with members in six chapters statewide.
••• "Cultivate your corner of the world.
You grow your garden; your garden grows you." •••
Colleen Smith’s first novel, “Glass Halo”—a finalist for the 2010 Santa Fe Literary Prize — is available in hardcover or e—book.
To learn more:
• Follow FridayPublisher on Twitter.