Prioritize, then Water Efficiently

In the past few weeks, Mother Nature has not brought much in the way of natural rainfall to many parts of Nebraska.  The north central and southeast part of the state have not been too badly deprived, but the rest of the state is experiencing either abnormally dry or moderately droughty conditions.  (Source:

With this in mind, supplemental water is needed to keep lawns, gardens and landscapes alive and thriving.  The question is: which lawns?  Which gardens?  Which parts of the landscape.  The answer: it’s personal.  It really depends on the individual and the members of the family to determine the importance of each of these spaces, and therefore, how to water them.

For the most part, vegetable gardens, turfgrasses, perennials and annuals need to be kept moist, not soggy or dry.  Once you’ve decided on which locations are most valued, take steps to judiciously and efficiently deliver the valuable resource they need.  This may mean letting some parts of the property struggle or outright die.  This is an unfortunate consequence, but a certain one, when water is in limited supply.

In the high priority areas, devices such as trickle drip systems for newly planted trees, vegetable gardens, strawberry patches and annual flower beds are a great way to supply needed water without losing much to the atmosphere.  In lawn areas, performing an irrigation audit to identify components that are performing poorly, then replacing the weak parts of the system will greatly increase efficiency.

In short, prioritize, then water efficiently.

John Fech
Horticulture Extension Educator at Nebraska Extension
John Fech is a horticulturist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. The author of 2 books and over 200 popular and trade journal articles, he focuses his time on teaching effective landscape maintenance techniques, water conservation, diagnosing turf and ornamental problems and encouraging effective bilingual communication in the green industry. He works extensively with the media to extend the message of landscape sustainability, making over 100 television and radio appearances each year.
John Fech on EmailJohn Fech on Twitter

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.