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Tips for keeping your water bill down and your yard green during a drought

“Basically, everything is suffering to one degree or another."

HOUSTON — With little help from Mother Nature, it takes a whole lot of sprinklers to keep yards green in Texas during this drought.

If you’ve got high water bills, you’re not alone, but there are some things that can help.

“We have a pretty significant drought, explained Sarah Barnes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

Barnes says the combination of drought and high temperatures is thanks to a one-two punch.

“We're certainly seeing more extreme weather due to climate change. We're also seeing a repeat of patterns like La Nina.”

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The National Weather Service says La Nina is like a vicious cycle, driving warmer and drier conditions north, which creates a drought. That in turn prompts more hot temperatures getting the weather pattern stuck in a ‘heat dome’.

Over the past couple of months, lawns, flowers and shrubs have been counting on irrigation to survive.

“Basically, everything is suffering to one degree or another,” said Michael Arnold, Ph.D.,  thedirector of The Gardens and a professor in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Horticultural Sciences.

RELATED: Tips on how to protect your foundation from drought conditions

Arnold provided the following tips to minimize water use while trying to tend to lawns, trees, shrubs and flowerbeds:

First, Arnold says sprinklers should run early in the morning before the sun rises, so the water has time to soak in.

Second, for those trying to cut down on a water bill, the key is to prioritize. The ground around a home should be watered first to protect the foundation. Then, mature trees as they are harder to replace if they die. And lastly, flowerbeds and lawns as Arnold says those can rebound quickly.

Arnold also suggests watering for 50% longer than normal but only doing it every other day. That way, it allows the roots to grow deeper into the soil.

Finally, having 2 to 3 inches of natural mulch around shrubs and flowers helps keep moisture in.

For more tips, click here.

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