We’ve all seen one – a broken sprinkler head shooting water up in the air and onto the sidewalk or road. Did you know that running a broken sprinkler system on a normal lawn for six months can waste up to 25,000 gallons of water? That’s enough water to fill an average-sized swimming pool.
On our most recent segment on WFAA Channel 8, Denise Hickey from NTWMD and Patrick Dickinson from Texas A&M AgriLife’s Water University offered some helpful advice on how to make your irrigation system more efficient.
Check and flag problems
One simple way to cut irrigation water loss is to routinely inspect your sprinklers as they run. This will allow you to catch and address most major system issues. Many homeowners set their systems to run while they are sleeping or not at home, so they aren’t aware there is a problem. If you suspect a problem underground or see an unexplained spike in your water bill, contact a landscape professional or irrigation specialist to identify and fix the problem.
Don’t dry or drown
Over-watering is bad for both your bank account and the environment. It drowns plant and turf roots, causing them to die from lack of oxygen.
To avoid over watering:
- Test your soil with a simple moisture sensor
- Adjust your irrigation for weather, season and yard location
Some smart technologies enable you to adjust your irrigation systems for these factors automatically or operate your system through your phone. A soil sensor can tell you exactly how much water you need. You can also easily get text updates on how to adjust your watering manually — just sign up at WaterMyYard.org.
Cycle and soak
After making sure your sprinkler system is in good working order, apply water deeply and infrequently. Doing so will allow your plant roots to go deeper and grow stronger, helping plants to better withstand heat and require less water. It’s also best to water everything (except your grass) with drip irrigation to keep water from evaporating or running off before it can reach your plants’ root zone.
Our next WFAA Green segment with Denise and Patrick will be Saturday, Aug. 19 at 7:45 AM. They’ll be discussing UlandscapeIt, a tool from Texas A&M AgriLife’s Water University that can help you design a beautiful, water-efficient landscape.