Here are some suggestions for making every drop count as you care for trees and shrubs:
* Sink a narrow tube into the ground to allow watering directly to the root system.
* Do not water by the calendar and instead check the soil by either digging down or using some of the gadgets available to measure moisture in soil.
* Learn to recognize signs of plant thirst, such as drooping.
* If watering by hose, use a soaker type rather than sprinkler type to reduce loss to evaporation.
* Identify your soil type and keep in mind that sandy soil dries out far more quickly than clay.
* Convert to drip irrigation systems, which reduce water use by 30% to 50%.
* Build basins around precious plants and trees to capture moisture.
* Cut back on fertilizers in dry times--especially those high in nitrogen, which encourages growth.
* Spread 1 or 2 inches of mulch around plants. Consider making your own by grinding up plant materials which would otherwise end up in landfills.