July’s not only the hottest month of the year, but also time for backyard barbecues. How do you keep your landscapes healthy without breaking the water budget? Check out the Irrigation Association’s tips below to save water and money on your water bill.
Think Smart: Beat the Heat with these Top 5 Irrigation Tips
1. What: Plan ahead with installation savvy
It can be tempting to choose one of the less expensive irrigation system options. However, cheaper systems often require frequent repairs and replacement sooner than quality ones do. Choosing the best system affordable causes less hassle and saves money in the long run.
2. Who: Find a licensed irrigation expert
When first installing or repairing your lines, be sure to receive several bid options and choose a designer/contractor who is well-referenced, insured and licensed in irrigation. Repairs can be quite costly, so it is important to initially avoid improper installation that leads to lawn and water loss.
3. How: Test the Cycle and Soak strategy
Instead of letting your irrigation run on one long cycle, set your system for several spaced and shorter cycles (for example: three, 5-minute intervals). Test your soil to choose the best amount of watering time for your yard, and time each cycle 30-60 seconds apart so that the water has a chance to soak into the soil between cycles. This cycle and soak method ensures that the soil has time to absorb irrigation so your water (and money) won’t be wasted as run-off.
4. To What Extent: Use budget-saving maneuvers
The amount of water that your lawn and garden need varies greatly day to day and season by season. Use “smart” sprinkler controls that alter the amount of water to account for changes in soil moisture, rain, evaporation and plant water use. If you don’t have a “smart” system, set up a basic manual scheduling for each irrigation zone. This way you can still account for time of year as well as varying sprinkler types, soil, and sun/shade ratio of each yard location.
5. When: Time irrigation tactically
Irrigate before 10 am or after 6 pm. By doing so, you can minimize the amount of evaporation, which can lose you up to 30 percent of irrigation water sprayed during the warm midday hours. Also keep an eye on wind that may blow water away from its intended area.
Try out and share these tips with your family, friends and wider community to keep our North Texas landscapes healthy. For more heat-battling tactics and irrigation technology developments, visit www.irrigation.org, or join us in following and re-tweeting the Irrigation Association’s July 11th post series in honor of Smart Irrigation Month (#smartirrigationmonth).