Conserving water using better techniques

During the summer months water usage jumps dramatically compared to winter usage. The main reason for this is evaporation, but the amount of water used in the landscape during the summer months can be reduced by making a few adjustments in traditional routines, or major adjustments in landscape installations.

According to the US EPA, two of the biggest water-saving actions we can take are planting suitable plants properly and watering them just enough to meet the plant's needs. Your garden can be productive and attractive even during a drought.

  • If installing a new lawn, consider smaller areas of turfgrass and the use of drought-resistant grasses that can make a big contribution to reducing water usage over the life of the new landscape. Use grass where it has the biggest impact, both visually and at filtering runoff water.

  • Water the lawn or garden during the coolest part of the day (early morning is best). Don't water on windy days or rainy days.

  • Use in-ground irrigation systems that include automatic sensors to determine the actual need of the plants instead of using the timer method.

  • Have your soil tested for nutrient content and add organic matter if needed. Good soil absorbs and retains water better that hard compacted soils.

  • Remove thatch and aerate turf to encourage movement of water to the root zone.

  • Raise your lawn mower cutting height, especially during the summer months. Longer grass blades help shade each other, cutting down on evaporation from the soil, and inhibiting weed growth.

  • Don't water the street, driveway, or sidewalk! This applies to in ground and above ground watering systems.

  • Don't allow water to puddle in the lawn, or to run off the curb into the street.

  • Use soaker hoses and trickle irrigation systems where applicable. Install moisture sensors on sprinkler systems.

Water Conservation Tips for...

Lawn Watering and Water Conservation Tips From Rain Bird Corporation that Will Keep Your Lawn, Garden and Wallet Full of Green

Did you ever think that you could be saving water by using an irrigation system? Probably not, but if your irrigation system is correctly designed, installed and maintained, it will help minimize the amount of water you use and still keep your lawn and landscape looking healthy. Here are some practical tips to help you have a lush, green landscape...

1. Don't drown the lawn
The greatest waste of water comes from applying too much, too often -- much of the water is never absorbed. Instead of watering for one long session, water a few times for shorter periods and take 15-minute breaks in between each session. This will allow water to soak in, while minimizing runoff. This is especially helpful on clay or compacted soils, or lawns on an incline.

2. Watch the clock
Water between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. -- when the sun is low, winds are calm and temperatures are cool. Mid-day watering tends to be less efficient because of water loss due to evaporation and windy conditions during the day. Watering in the evening isn't a good idea either because leaves can remain wet overnight -- an open invitation for fungus to grow. By watering in the morning, leaves have a chance to dry out during the day.

3. Divide watering areas by zones
Different plants need different amounts of water. Divide your yard and landscape areas into separate irrigation zones so that grass can be watered separately and more frequently than ground covers, shrubs and trees. Both sprinkler and drip irrigation can be incorporated to achieve more efficient use of water.

4. Water only the things that grow
If you have an underground sprinkler system, make sure the sprinkler heads are adjusted properly to avoid watering sidewalks and driveways. A properly adjusted sprinkler head should spray large droplets of water instead of a fine mist to minimize evaporation and wind drift.

5. Consider dripping
When it comes to watering individual trees, flower beds, potted containers, or other non grassy areas, consider applying water directly to the roots using low volume drip irrigation. This will reduce water waste through evaporation or runoff, and will prevent unwanted weeds from growing.

6. Do routine inspections
Since lawns and gardens should be watered in the early morning hours, a problem may not be discovered until it is too late. Periodically check your sprinklers to make sure everything is working properly. A clogged head or a torn line can wreak havoc on your landscape and water bill.

7. Don't water when it rains
Adjust your irrigation system as the seasons and weather change. Or better yet, install a shut-off device that automatically detects rain or moisture. These devices are inexpensive and enable you to take advantage of the water without having paying for it.