Sprinkler System Water Conservation Tips
Did you ever dream that you could actually save water through the use of an irrigation system? Perhaps not.
But an irrigation system that is properly designed, installed and maintained, will help minimize the amount of water you use,
while keeping your lawn and landscape looking good and healthy.
Here a few tips to help you have a lush, green landscape without draining the rivers and your bank account...
- Don't drown everything
The greatest waste of water comes from applying too much, too often. Much of the water is never absorbed.
Instead of watering for a long session, water a few times for shorter periods and take 15-minute breaks between each session.
This will allow time for the water to soak in, while minimizing run off. (Especially in the hard clay soil of our area).
- Watch the clock
Optimum watering hours are from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., when the sun is low winds are calm and temperatures are cool.
Midday watering tends to be less efficient due to water loss through evaporation and windy conditions during the day.
Watering during evening hours isn't the best idea either. Wet lawns and plant leaves can remain wet overnight-an
irresistible invitation for fungus and other diseases to develop and grow.
Watering during early morning hours allows everything to dry out throughout the day.
- Divide by zones
Different plants need different amounts of water. Divide your yard and landscape areas into separate
irrigation zones so grass can be watered separately and more frequently than groundcovers, shrubs and trees.
Both sprinkler and drip irrigation can be incorporated to achieve more efficient use of water.
- Water only things that grow
With a subsurface sprinkler system, proper sprinkler head alignment is paramount in order to water only living plants,
not sidewalks, driveways or the street. A properly adjusted sprinkler head should spray large droplets of water instead of a fine mist.
This will minimize evaporation and wind drift.
- Consider dripping
When it comes to watering individual trees, flowerbeds, potted containers or other non-grassy areas, consider applying
water directly to the roots using low volume drip irrigation. This approach will reduce water waste from evaporation or runoff.
It will also prevent unwanted weeds from growing. A basic drip system consists of a series of tubes that have holes at intervals.
The location of the open holes is tailored to irrigate specific plants more efficiently.
For instance, if you have certain plants spaced at two-foot intervals, the corresponding holes in the drip system
will also be spaced at two-foot intervals. Water will be distributed only where the plants are stationed and not in the areas between them.
- Perform routine inspections
If you're watering at the proper time of day (early morning hours), a problem may occur and not be discovered until it is too late.
Periodically examining your sprinklers to make certain everything is in proper working order can save a lot of headaches.
A clogged head or a torn line can wreak havoc on your landscape and water bill.
- Be rain and season smart
Always adjust your sprinkler system as the seasons and the weather change.
An easy way to accomplish this is to install a shut-off device in your system that automatically detects rain or moisture.
These devices are relatively inexpensive and enable you to take advantage of Mother Nature's watering without having to pay for it.
Approximate Cost of a Sprinkler System
The cost of an automatic sprinkler system depends mainly on two factors-the size of your lawn or yard to be irrigated
(ie, how much pipe needs to be laid, how many physical sprinkler heads are needed) and the components you choose to build your system.
For a 2500 sq. ft. lawn, you could expect a figure of around...
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The full version of this article includes several more topics, including Basic Sprinkler System Operation, Zoning Your Lawn,
and Choosing a Contractor. Read the full article
This is an excerpt from an article originally appearing in Home Improvement Resource Magazine.
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