Taking some time away before summer’s end? Don’t let watering-related worries take over your trip. Follow our tips based on these four watering facts to earn peace of mind before you leave town.
Fact: Before you leave, your landscape deserves a little love.
- Mow before you go. Cut grass a little higher than usual to lend some water-saving, evaporation-reducing shade to your soil.
- Remember to save yourself a step and leave grass clippings in place to retain moisture. You can give gardens the same advantage by applying mulch.
- Give your lawn one last watering using the cycle-and-soak method.
Fact: Summertime power outages can reset sprinklers, wasting water and your money.
- Set up your irrigation system for success — even when power fails — by showing your house sitter how to shut sprinklers off if they’ve gone haywire.
- You also can combat the wreckage power failures pose by replacing your system’s backup battery each year.
Fact: Rain is a bigger blessing when your sprinklers can sense it.
- Get a $100 rebate for installing a WaterSense-labeled smart irrigation controller. Make sure to include a rain sensor to prevent your system from running in the rain — a water-wasting violation of our summer watering rules, which are in effect until Oct. 1.
- Check your system’s setup to make sure you’re making the most of its features.
- Take advantage of technology, but don’t discount the value of having a human keep an eye on your system as well.
Fact: Your house sitter will give plants better TLC if you make the job easy.
- Round up your potted plants and place them in groups based on the amount of water they need. Do this for houseplants, too.
- Ask your sitter to check whether water pools in saucers — a sign of overwatering. Your sitter can pour all of the leftovers into one container, then set it aside for the next watering.
- Protect outdoor plants from hose-dragging damage by installing guards to shield plantings near vulnerable areas such as corners.
There’s no reason to fret about watering when you’re out of town. Put in a little effort before you leave, and you can return home to a healthy yard without wasting water — now, that’s giving yourself a break!