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The United States is experiencing the worst drought conditions since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
Sept. 30, 2013 11:28 a.m.

Tip of the Week

The United States is experiencing the worst drought conditions since the Dust Bowl. For gardeners, water shortages pose their own challenges — but a few tips will help you get through even the worst dry spell.

Rebecca Winn, an award-winning designer and owner of Whimsical Gardens, an artistic landscape design firm based in Dallas, offers her advice:

• Water deeply and infrequently. This trains plants to be more drought tolerant, Winn says. To do so: Irrigate each area of your garden for 10-15 minutes if you have full sun, 5-10 minutes if you have shade. Repeat the process, but this time with 20-25 minutes for sun and 10-15 minutes for shade.

“The first round softens the ground and allows some water to penetrate a little way down,” Winn says. “The second round allows the water to go deeper because the pre-moistened soil acts as a conduit for the water to be drawn deep into the ground.”

• Set your sprinkler for early morning. About 3 to 5 a.m. is ideal, to let the ground cool off as much as possible to limit loss from evaporation.

• Get new mulch. It should be replaced yearly to keep soil temperatures cooler, prevent soil erosion and help retain moisture.

• Consider drip irrigation and water reclamation systems. The former can allow for more frequent watering in areas with stringent restrictions, while the latter (rain barrels and cisterns, for example) can run the irrigation system for your entire property, Winn says. “If you can afford it and have the space, I highly recommend this,” she adds. “It’s the wave of the future.”

Find more tips and gardening updates, check out the Whimsical Gardens Facebook page at facebook.com/WhimsicalGardens.

— Amber Krosel, More Content Now

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