Waste-water & Daylilies

Q. What additional chemicals would I have to mix with grey water in order to use it on trees and large shrubs? I vaguely remember something about zinc and iron from back in the nineties.

A. It’s not necessary to supplement grey water with any additives when using it to water outside plants. Grey water is defined as “Untreated wastewater from clothes washers, showers, bathtubs, bathroom sinks, and laundry tubs.” The untreated wastewater from kitchen sinks, dishwashers or toilets, referred to as Black Water, is prohibited. Most home plumbing systems can be modified in order to capture grey water, but you’ll need to check the requirements in your local area. Vegetables can be watered with grey water as long as the water doesn’t come in contact with the edible parts. You will have to change the laundry and bathing products you use to those that are plant friendly. No bleach, dyes, bath salts, cleanser, shampoos with unpronounceable ingredients, and no products containing boron.
Grey water needs to be used quickly as it’s recommended that you don’t store it for more than twenty-four hours. Watering basins around plants is desirable as it minimize run off and acts as a percolation basin. The utilization of Grey water is advantageous for sustainable ecosystems but it’s not right for everyone. You’ll find more information on grey water at



Q. Is it too late to divide and transplant my Daylilies? Is the green and healthy foliage normally cut back after they finish blooming? If so how far back are they trimmed?ThinkstockPhotos-465859544

A. Unless you really had too, I’d probably wait and not move the plants now. Daylilies are best relocated and divided October through the end of March. I wouldn’t cut the foliage off after flowering. Instead, I’d wait until the winter months and then cut the foliage off at the ground, as they do get shabby looking from the winter storms and cold. It could be done early or later as it doesn’t matter to the plants. I prefer later as the green foliage is far more visibly pleasing then the short stubble left after the ground level pruning. Those plants moved or divided in the fall and winter months produce no new growth until the following spring. Before transplanting, I would cut the foliage back to the ground as it makes it easier to move the plants. Using a round nose shovel, sever the lateral roots around the clump then gently lift the clump out of the ground. Next, you slice the clumps in half or quarters depending on their size with a pruning saw, hand shears or shovel. Before replanting remove any of the lose debris from the clumps. I would dig a hole that is twice to three times as wide as each clump and add plenty of homemade compost, soil conditioner or blended mixes to the native soil. Also, add a handful of starter fertilizer to the bottom of the hole. Moving and dividing Daylilies isn’t difficult and you have a high success ratio.

Buzz Bertolero is Executive Vice President of Navlet’s Garden Centers and a California Certified Nursery Professional. His web address is www.dirtgardener.com and you can send questions by email at dirtgarden@aol.com or to 360 Civic Drive Ste. ‘D’, Pleasant Hill, Calif. 94523 and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Buzz.Bertolero