Saturday, September 21, 2013

Plants Love Misters



Kids love misters on a hot day; you can see it in the wet heads coming out of the Growers Market.  So do you, if you think about it; in the dry heat, a fine mist makes it easier to breath.
           
The same goes for your plants, particularly those that are hard to grow in our very dry, hot summers, like blueberries.  A mister nearby can make a blueberry explode with growth.  Every other plant in the vicinity also breathes easier; nearly every plant loves higher humidity than we have.  On the other hand, spider mites love dryness, and a mister prevents and gets rid of the mites.  A mister also shows up cobweb spider webs, making them temporarily useless to the spider and showing them so you can clean them up when they would otherwise be nearly invisible.

A mister also cools its immediate area, outdoor air conditioning that can make your indoor cooler work better, and cool the hot west side of your house.  They take very little water, and it is not wasted by evaporation, since evaporative cooling is the point.

Right now, Grover plumbing supply has free-standing misters for only $10 apiece, and they also have individual misters on coiled, flexible tubes that can be attached to a drip irrigation line to build a mister system that can cool your entire yard.

Truly, water used for watering and cooling is not wasted: besides watering plants, it humidifies and cools the area.  If enough people water lawns, it creates thundershowers, which we had a lot of when we nearly all watered our lawns in the 80’s.  Now that most lawns in this town are allowed to go dry every year, we have few thunderstorms, but a lot of weeds and ugly yards.  Watered, mowed, and weeded grass is the best defense most people have against weeds.

A study has shown that irrigating farms in Southern California creates summer rain in Colorado and Arizona and puts more water in the Colorado River, which is used again for irrigating farms and yards.  Every bit of so-called “wasted” evaporated water falls somewhere as rain; water cannot be wasted by watering plants.

Our city got into the “save water” eco-mindset a decade or so ago, raising rates on water use above basic household use to discourage watering plants.  People started letting lawns go dry.  Since purifying river water is mostly overhead, the city had to raise rates again to cover costs, and people used still less, starting our water department on a downward spiral of higher rates causing less use causing still higher rates. 

The last time they raised our rates, they raised the basic charge, not the per-gallon rate above such use.  If enough of us would water our lawns, they could avoid raising rates to cover the new earth-quake resistant plant that we have to build.  If we have to build a new plant, we may as well water our yards to do it, rather than just pay more per gallon.