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MONDAY, JUNE 25, 2007
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LAWN CARE
How to save water while watering

The Environmental Protection Agency says that landscape irrigation is estimated to account for almost one-third of all residential water use, totaling more than 7 billion gallons per day.

Happily, gardeners can easily adopt some water-saving habits. The Green Guide, a consumer-information publication, suggests that as summer arrives and temperatures rise, you should resist the idea that your lawn needs constant watering to stay golf-course green. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Use a sprinkler timer. Timers will automatically shut off your sprinkler system after a set period so you donít have to remember. Sprinkler timers are available at gardening supply and houseware stores.

  • Use sprinklers that emit large drops of water, low and close to the ground (so as not to waste water on the sidewalk or street).

  • Water early in the morning to make sure the water soaks into the soil instead of evaporating. A sprinkler with flexible nozzles lets you spray the water right where you need to.

  • Donít automatically water every day. Test the lawn first to see if it needs water. If you step on the grass and it springs back easily, it doesnít need water. Or, try pushing a long screwdriver into the lawn. If you can push it easily for several inches, you donít need to water.

  • While it may be tempting to spray off your driveway and sidewalk while youíve got the hose out, save the water for the yard and use the broom on the driveway. Green peace

    Spring brings bird song, but also the less welcome buzz of lawn mowers at work.

    Noisy gas-powered mower engines are energy-inefficient and contribute to greenhouse gases, small-particle pollution and health problems, The Green Guide says in the current issue of its consumer newsletter.

    Electric lawn mowers produce less than 1 percent of the smog-contributing carbon monoxide that gas mowers put out, tend to be quieter than gas equivalents, and have 10-year operating costs that are less than half those of gas mowers, making up for the higher initial cost.

    Reel push mowers are a still better bet, with no electricity costs, no on-site emissions and a much lower price tag, The Green Guide says.

    The Associated Press

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