A class planned this weekend in Merced could help homeowners keep their lawns green while cutting back on their water waste.
Merced Gardens and Nursery plans to host a free seminar called “Planning for Drought” in conjunction with the University of California Cooperative Extension at 11 a.m. Saturday at the nursery, 1007 Tahoe St., Merced.
Dave Hackney is one of the two trained and certified master gardeners with the UC Cooperative Extension who will talk to homeowners about their sprinklers. He said the pop-up sprinklers that mist lawns, which most homes have, are too wasteful.
“Basically we’re going to show them the latest and greatest of how to apply water to your landscape,” he said. “Basically any household’s water usage, about 50 percent of it goes to the landscape.”
The seminar will cover products on the market that water the lawn slower, he said, which allows for the liquid to penetrate the ground without running off sloped lawns.
The UC extension and the nursery held a similar class last year, Hackney said, but the information this time around will be new. He said most people are informed of how severe the drought is, so the class will focus more on the equipment and techniques for keeping a lawn green while reducing water use.
Hackney stressed that the products are affordable for most households and can easily be installed. The installation process is part of the seminar this weekend.
He said he believes people want to conserve water and just need to know how to do it. “They’re looking for solutions, because nobody wants to lose their lawn,” he said.
The nursery has hosted seminars on drought resistant plants that need less water, said Brad Parkinson, who co-owns Merced Gardens and Nursery. Plants won’t be the focus of this weekend’s class, but the nursery has information on those plants on hand.
The seminar also will cover drip irrigation for home gardens. “At this point in the season, we’re really concentrating on low-water plants and water efficiency for homeowners,” he said.
Water conservation is on the minds of many Valley residents.
A survey of local water departments released by the State Water Resources Control Board this week shows water use fell less than 4 percent in March compared with the same month in 2013. Overall savings has been only about 9 percent since last summer, even though Gov. Jerry Brown set a voluntary 20 percent target.
The numbers were mixed for Northern San Joaquin Valley cities.
The water board reported Modesto increased its water use by 8 percent in March compared with March 2013, Ceres by 11 percent and Livingston by 1 percent. The board said Merced (15 percent), Atwater (46 percent) and Ripon (21 percent) reduced their consumption during the same time period.
The water board on Tuesday began considering new regulations to step it up. Modesto, Merced, Oakdale, Ripon and Atwater face the biggest reduction of 36 percent. Riverbank, Turlock and Livingston face 32 percent reductions and Ceres is looking at a 28 percent cut.
The Merced nursery holds seminars year round. To see what others are on the docket, go to www.mercedgardens.com.
Sun-Star staff writer Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.