Sat July 21, 2012
Garden Report

Confused About Watering Restrictions? Here's Help for Colorado Gardeners

It isn’t easy to grow healthy plants when the weather is hot and dry – especially when water restrictions vary so widely.

KUNC Gardener Tom Throgmorton has a list of resources to help in the quest to be more water-savvy:

Water restrictions are as varied as the communities throughout our state. It’s difficult to figure out what restrictions apply in your neighborhood.

One community has voluntary water restrictions. Other communities are limiting days and the amount of time you can water outside. Some water providers are taking a supply-and-demand approach. The more water you use the more it costs.

The Green Industries of Colorado has put together resources to help gardens through this maze of restrictions. GreenCo is the umbrella group for Colorado’s green industry. GreenCo works with everyone from greenhouse, nursery stock and sod growers to garden centers and landscape contractors. Their website has a city by city list of watering guidelines.

I looked at Ft. Collins water guidelines. They are voluntary with suggested water times between 10 pm and 6 am. Ft. Collins also has tiered rates so the more you use the more you pay.

GreenCo also lists ways to use water wisely. They’re called Best Management Practices (or BMPs). Some of them are directed to green industry professionals. Others are great information sheets we can use around the house to improve water efficiency.

The Garden Centers of Colorado have developed a water wise plant list. The X-rated plants use an inch or less of water per week. Their website lets you know where to find and how to use these plants.

Their website also has a list of most Colorado garden centers. Your local garden center is a great resource. The garden center professionals will know your local restrictions. They’ll know your local conditions and plant needs. Talk to them; it may alleviate some of the confusion.

The CSU extension is a tremendous resource. Their website has online information about drought; everything from climatic causes of a drought to how to manage around the house. Some Colorado counties have specific information about restrictions in that county. Look for drought topics under their drought icon and under horticulture.

Water use is up this year because of climatic conditions like the abnormal heat. The concern is that if we continue to have dry conditions there will be less water available next year. Be water-wise to grow healthy plants in drought conditions.


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