Promoting Conservation Through Irrigation

When it comes to watering your yard, you may be able to save yourself some “green” -without your lawn turning brown-by using an automatic irrigation system. If that system is correctly designed, installed and maintained, it can keep your landscape looking lush using the least amount of water.

Here are a few more tips, from gardening expert Paul James, that may help:

• Waste not, want not-Instead of watering for one long continuous session, try splitting the watering time into shorter periods and take 15-minute breaks in between each session. This will let the water soak in, while minimizing runoff.

• Raise the blade-Trim grass at a higher mower setting to shade roots from sunlight and encourage deeper roots. Lawns with longer grass blades (2 inches) will retain more moisture and encourage deeper, healthier roots.

• Watch the clock-Water between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., when the sun is low, winds are calm and temperatures are cool. By watering in the morning, you give the leaves a chance to dry out during the day.

• Divide by zones-Different plants need different amounts of water. Divide your yard into separate irrigation zones so the grass can be watered separately and more frequently than ground covers, shrubs and trees.

• Water only what grows-If you have an underground sprinkler system, make sure the heads are adjusted properly to avoid watering sidewalks and driveways. A properly adjusted sprinkler head should spray large droplets of water, not a fine mist, to minimize evaporation and wind drift.

• Consider drip-When it comes to watering individual trees, flowerbeds, potted containers or other nongrassy areas, you can apply water directly to the roots with low-volume drip irrigation. This will reduce water waste through evaporation or runoff and keep weeds from growing.

• Do routine inspections-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.

• Be rain smart-Adjust your irrigation system as the seasons and weather change. You can also install a shut-off device that automatically detects rain or moisture. These devices are inexpensive and let you take advantage of nature’s free watering service.

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