Record-breaking heat waves all over Ontario and Quebec during the past few weeks brought more than just humidity and sunshine; worries about water supplies are starting to surface as well. The Greater Toronto Area is fortunate to be so close to Lake Ontario, which acts as a reliable source for fresh water and provides a rich, biodiverse ecosystem. However, it is still important to keep water conservation a priority, especially during the summer months.
Watering bans and restrictions are usually announced during long periods of drought, when water resources are scarce and rain is infrequent. Droughts not only can cause short-term dryness, but they can also cause long-term damage to plants and grass that may take years to reverse. When bans are in place, there are a few ways to keep your grass and gardens from suffering. Applying a two- or three-inch-deep layer of mulch over soil can help the soil retain moisture and stay cooler. Another tip is to stop fertilizing when a drought comes on – as Better Homes and Gardens points out, fertilizer encourages plant growth. The more a plant grows, the more moisture it needs. Hold off on fertilizing until the drought is over so you can provide your plants with all the water they need.
Although no water bans have been announced in the Oakville-Mississauga area during this month’s heat wave, conserving water while maintaining your garden is still important. Weeding your garden and lawn regularly ensures all moisture is being soaked up by only the plants, not the weeds. Watering at the right time of day is also important: check your local off-peak hours and water during these times to save money. Mornings and late afternoons are usually the best time to water because evaporation is least likely during these times when the sun is not as hot. Having a scheduled routine with timers on your sprinklers can help you take advantage of the best times to water your lawn.
Keep an eye on your local newspapers, radio stations, and websites to stay up to date on droughts and watering bans and to keep your lawn and garden looking great all summer long.