Water is becoming increasingly scarce, which is why it is beneficial to save water for plants through careful maintenance and lawn care. The amount and type of water used in lawn care determines the health and vitality of a good lawn.
Treated water from municipal sources can contain harmful chemicals to plant roots and can burn sensitive plant leaves due to the addition of salts, fluoride, and chlorine. Homeowners should consider using captured rainwater to nourish their lawns and gardens. Rainwater has more natural minerals and a lower salt content than treated water, and can save money that would otherwise go towards a water bill. The addition of a rain barrel or water catchment system in lawn care goes a long way.
A rain barrel or catchment system relies on 3 components: a catchment surface, a container, and a spigot or outflow mechanism such as a faucet. A roof and gutter is a great example of a catchment surface, which collects as much as 1 inch per square foot of water as it rains. The rain barrel should have a mesh or wire filter directly positioned under the gutter, to minimize the amount of debris in the collected water. Trash, leaves, and organic material can encourage the growth of bacteria in a rain barrel system and should be avoided. The homeowner should also consider treating the rainwater with non-toxic mosquito repellant tablets which can be purchased at most home and garden stores.
Once the rain barrel is positioned on a flat surface under a gutter, the outflow mechanism can be attached. A rain catchment system can rely on either gravity-feed or pump to manage water flow. For extensive lawn care, a pump will work best. Attach the hose and allow for rain to fill the barrel. This will vary depending on the amount of rainfall, but will benefit both the plants and the homeowner over time.