WaterSmart -- a program of the Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority and Cobb County Water System – recently sent a team to Brumby Elementary School to teach its after-school Garden Club about fall planting and water-saving techniques for a beautiful landscape. The same knowledge provided to students can be applied to home gardens as well.
The students learned the following fall planting tips:
- Fertilize Less – If fertilizer is needed, pick a slow-release, nitrogen-based formula, such as sulfur-coated urea, urea formaldehyde, IBDU (isobutylene-diurea) or methylene urea. Make sure to check the application rate on the label – this rate is ideal when planting but should be reduced once plants are established.
- Mulch – Use mulch to maintain moisture in soil. Pine bark, nuggets and hardwood chips are best, but rocks, gravel and marble retain heat which can cause evaporation. Another helpful hint – saturate a newspaper and place it on the ground before using mulch. By preventing the soil from drying out, mulch helps plants stay hydrated longer between rainfalls.
- Building Tolerance – Native plants are generally designed to withstand the local climate and environmental conditions without any need for additional watering. To ensure a waterSmart yard, choose plants that are native to the area and drought resistant. Dogwoods, azaleas and hollies are well-suited for the metro Atlanta region, but non-native plants can thrive as well.