10 Tips for the Weekend Gardener

Depending on your geographic location, choose drought-tolerant or
water-loving native or non-invasive exotic plants, and always purchase the
best quality plants and shrubs — ask your retailer about plant life
guarantees — be sure to keep your receipts.

Group plants together based on how much shade, sun and watering they

Start your gardens off with organic fertilizer and other organic
products. If switching over from chemical to organic products, do it in
steps — adding more organic fertilizer and less synthetic over a two-week

Fertilize and mulch garden beds and potted plants — the water will
evaporate into the mulch and fertilizer, and keep the plants protected and
watered as needed.

Water your plants early in the morning, and water them at the root
zone, for a longer period of time, but less often. Watering longer but less
often encourages hardy plants with deeper roots. After a heavy rain, skip
the regular watering regime.

Save water by using a full watering can rather than a hose, and bend
from the knees to protect your back from the weight of the water and the

Accept less-than-lush gardens and lawns during dry periods, and be
aware that flowers, plants and lawns will regenerate after heavy rains.
Clear out dead trees and trim back leafy trees to allow more light in
on lawns and gardens.

Check automatic sprinkler systems to be sure they are operating
properly and not watering the sidewalk and driveway, and re-adjust the time
and positioning of the sprinklers as needed.

For lawn care, mow high and use a sharp blade — 3 inches is
recommended. High growth increases grass’ tolerance to drought and
insect/disease problems, and clean cut grass blades lose less water than
tattered cut blades of grass.

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