11 ways to fight drought

Here's how to make every drop of water count

Dick Bushnell and Jim McCausland

6. Build watering basins. Mound soil berms around young trees and shrubs such as roses to concentrate water on the root zones. Fill the basin with a slow-running hose so water soaks in.

7. Use soaker hoses. These porous hoses ooze water along their length. Run them among flowers and shrubs or along hedges or rows of vegetables. Coil them under the driplines of large trees; a good average length is 50 or 100 feet.

8. Apply mulch. Drought or not, spreading a layer of mulch over the soil around plants is simply good gardening. Mulch reduces evaporation, insulates roots from extreme temperature changes, and helps prevent weeds, which steal water needed by desirable plants. Spread a 3-inch layer of organic mulch such as compost or shredded bark around trees and shrubs; for flowers and vegetables, apply 1 to 2 inches. Gravel and other mineral mulches are also effective.


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