In 2017, the RDN is piloting a WaterSmart Garden Rebate Program across the region. If you are interested, please submit the Step 1: Pre-Approval form (see link below) at your earliest convenience. Please note that this is a pilot program for 2017, space is limited. Once your application is submitted, it will be reviewed and applicants will be notified if they have been selected to participate in the program.
Up to $750 is available for the following upgrades:
Applicants who are pre-approved for both an Irrigation Efficiency Retrofit rebate AND a Soil & Mulch Amendment rebate under the program may be eligible for an efficiency bonus of up to $100 upon completion of their projects. This makes a total of $750 available per residential property for the improvement of landscape water efficiency.
There is only one rebate per property for the lifetime of the program. The rebate is available on a first come, first served basis. Once funds are exhausted, the program will be finished for this year. Please note that this is a pilot program and there are limited funds available in 2017.
Applications can be emailed to email@example.com or mailed or dropped off to the RDN Administration office at 6300 Hammond Bay Rd., Nanaimo, B.C. V9T 6N2.
Team WaterSmart has conducted hundreds of Irrigation Check-Ups throughout the RDN. On the majority of sites visited, the three highest priority actions for increased landscape water efficiency were:
The addition of mulch can reduce water loss through evapotranspiration. It protects your investment in cultivating quality soil, by reducing evaporation, leeching, and erosion. Mulch also reduces weed growth, and adds a finished look to a garden while providing nutrients to plants.
Together, healthy soil and organic mulch maximize the water-retaining potential of our landscapes, allowing us to maintain a healthy garden with less water.
There are several local retailers of efficient irrigation equipment, including:
There are several IIABC certified irrigation professionals with varying levels of certification operating in our region. The following businesses have IIABC certified professionals on staff:
There are several local retailers of soil, compost and mulches including:
Soil & Compost:
Optimum amounts of organic matter in a living growing medium produce garden soil or compost blend that:
Common problems to avoid when purchasing soil and compost include:
Quality soil and compost purchasing tips are taken from Team WaterSmart's Landscape Guide to Water Efficiency.
Once you've amended your gardens with good quality compost and soil, protect your investment by adding mulch on top of the soil. Mulch is simply something that protects the earth. It shades and insulates the soil, preventing against evaporation, regulating temperature, and protecting soil structure. Many plants and trees create their own beneficial mulch in the form of leaf litter and natural shedding which we often remove when we're "tidying up" our gardens. There are many types of mulch available for purchase, of which bark mulch is one type.
Some tips for purchasing and applying mulch:
For grass areas: Topdressing should not exceed 6mm (1/4") depth at a time. Once grass is established, stop removing the grass clippings from the surface. Mow regularly, and allow the clippings to decay into the soil, where they will recycle the organic matter and nutrients back into the soil organisms and the grass.
For shrub and groundcover areas: The minimum recommended depth per top dress application of topsoil or compost is 2â€™â€™ (50 mm). The maximum depth could be as much as 3â€™â€™ (75mm).
For on-going maintenance once adequate soil depth is in place, use organic mulches like bark mulch to protect your recent investment in the soil by reducing soil moisture evaporation, minimizing weed germination, and providing a long-term supply of organic matter. Allow leaf drop to remain - this builds up a 'natural duff' like in the forest, that builds the soil, soil life, and recycles nutrients. Apply mulches at a minimum thickness of 50 - 75mm (2 - 3 in). Inspect depth seasonally and add as required to maintain minimum depth.
Approximately 6mm (1/4 inch) for lawn areas, and 75mm (3") for garden beds is the required depth of soil amendment to be eligible for the rebate program. 50mm (2 in) is the required depth of mulch in garden beds for eligibility to the rebate program. In addition, applicants must be top dressing at least 400 sq ft of landscape area.