Water conservation is one of the most important things you can do for your community. Here are some tips for saving water in your landscape during our driest season.
Find and fix leaks. Don’t ignore that unusually green patch. Look online at the Maui Association of Landscape Professionals (MALP) industry directory to find an irrigation specialist.
Measure and experiment. Put a few empty tuna cans around your lawn and turn on your irrigation system for as long as it takes for the cans to fill with ½ inch of water. Watering that length of time twice a week equals one inch of water. Try cutting the time in half one week, and in half again the next, to observe if your plants really need this much.
Water at cool times of day, especially if you have sprinklers that spray and create mist. If you have rotor-type sprinklers, consider replacing with drip or stream emitters.
Use mulch, which can be any organic matter. Mulch cools, retains soil moisture, and adds nutrients.
Plant new plants in winter to take advantage of rains. Water new plants only until established.
Keep lawns high. Longer grass has deeper roots and requires less water. Enter your area code at drought.gov to check conditions and remember, lawns do revive after turning brown.
Remove invasives, plant natives, and support watershed protection. A study by Thomas Giambelluca at the University of Hawaiʻi showed that compared to native trees like ʻōhiʻa, invasive trees like strawberry guava transpire or lose more water and contribute less to groundwater recharge. Maui’s water supply depends on this recharge from forests capturing water for our aquifers. The Maui County landscape and gardening handbook has a list of natives that do well in five rainfall zones. Maui Nui Botanical Gardens #mauinuibg posts about native plants for sale each week, and Maui Native Nursery and Hoʻolawa Farms are excellent sources of native plants.
Collect rain. Did you know you can apply for a free Rain Barrel Catchment System? For more information, the County of Maui Department of Water Supply has free water-saving tips, programs, and fixtures for both indoors and out at waterresources.mauicounty.gov.
Maui Nui Botanical Gardens is a native plant landscape at 150 Kanaloa Ave., Kahului, across from the War Memorial Stadium. Visit us any time 8 am – 4 pm, Tuesday through Saturday, for free admission for residents, and smartphone audio messages about how and why to grow plants displayed around the Garden.