The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 13, 2013

Follow simple tips to conserve water

By Anne Bethell
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — As I write this tonight we are enjoying a wonderful, soaking rain.

How thankful we all are for this gift that can only come from our Creator. Spring is indeed upon us.

However, most of us know we still are under drought conditions in Oklahoma and we need to be wise in the use of our water as summer is around the corner. Here are a few things you can do to conserve water use:

• Water morning or evening, as needed, and when winds are calm.

• Mulching 2 to 3 inches around trees, shrubs and bedding plants helps to reduce evaporation and drying of soil.

• Adding plants to your landscape? Consider only drought-resistant plants. The Garfield Extension Office has resources to help you identify which plants those are.

Other things to consider in April are:

• Apple trees need to be treated for cedar-apple rust with a fungicide.

• Newly planted trees and shrubs need plenty of water to become established properly.

• Remove any winter-damaged branches or plants that have not begun to grow. Prune spring flowering plants when they are finished blooming.

• The last danger of frost is usually around mid-April. Most bedding plants, summer flowering bulbs and annual flower seeds can be planted then.

• You may want to harden off transplants in a protected area outside before submitting them to the rigors of Oklahoma wind and other elements.

• Let your spring flowering bulb growth dry down before removing.

• Wait until it is a bit warmer (mid- to late-April) to plant cucurbit vegetables (melons, squash, cucumbers or pumpkins)

• Watch for cutworm activity and scout for flea beetles. Many insects can be manually removed or flushed with water in lieu of chemicals.

• Hummingbirds arrive in Oklahoma in early April.

Get bird feeders ready using one part sugar to four parts water. Sit back and enjoy the show.

Should you have questions about lawn care in April or would like more detailed information on planting warm-season vegetables, the Garfield Extension Service Office has helpful guidelines available to you.

Come and check it out, and meanwhile, I’m still praying for more rain.

Bethell is a member of Garfield County Master Gardeners.