Friday, July 1, 2011

Welcome to Smart Irrigation Month!

This spring has been a wild ride here in the Midwest. Flooding and rain and thunderstorms (Oh, my!). Thirteen of the 30 days of June had measurable rain. We have certainly had some weather that made having a smart controller or a rain shut-off device a very wise investment.

We have turned very quickly from very wet to very hot. July is typically a high water use month and with the 100 degree temperatures yesterday it is easy to see why. The Irrigation Association has deemed July "Smart Irrigation Month". We all want you to have a green grass and all the wonderful benefits that come along with having healthy turf-grass and landscapes, but we want you to be smart water consumers.

This from the Irrigation Association:
Automatic sprinklers offer convenience and control in protecting your landscape investment. Irrigation systems help you to enjoy your yard, and to keep it healthy and beautiful. However, most homeowners tend to over water their lawn or waste water through inefficient habits. Adopting water-savvy habits is essential to maintaining and extending your community's water supply, especially during peak use.
The key to efficient outdoor irrigation is applying just enough water and only when necessary. Water-wise habits will result in a healthier lawn and landscape, in addition to conserving water. Plus, reducing your consumption will help reduce your water bill.
 How can you be a smart water consumer? Here are a few pointers.

Inspect your sprinkler on a regular basis. Check for leaks, broken or clogged heads, and other problems, Clean drip-irrigation filters as needed. Don't assume that a sprinkler serviced in April will not need any repairs for the entire season - mowers, cars and kids can quickly misalign and damage heads. Be aware of any wet areas or run-off in and around your property.

Adjust sprinkler heads. Correct obstructions that prevent sprinklers from distributing water evenly. Plants and grasses grow very quickly and can block or clog heads. Keep water off pavement and structures (they don't grow!).

Consider a Smart controller or install a rain-sensor.This is an easy and ultimately cost-effective way to save water. We have had three very wet watering seasons in a row. The installation of a rain sensor or smart controller would have easily been paid for in water savings. Rain Bird has made their Smart Controller much more cost effective this year. If you have one of their ESP modular controllers that unit can be upgraded to a weather-controlled Smart controller. Our customers who have upgraded their old units have nothing but good things to say about their new controllers.

Water at the optimum time. Water when the sun is low or down, winds are calm and temperatures are cool - between the evening and early morning - to reduce evaporation. You can lose as much as 30% of water to evaporation by watering mid-day. We recommend completing your water cycle before the sun rises. Unless you have new sod, avoid watering mid-day.

Don't over water. Watering too much and too frequently results in shallow roots, weed growth, disease and fungus. Water just enough to keep your grass green. The appearance of your lawn will tell you it is time to water if you are not watering enough. The leaves will begin to wilt/curl and develop a bluish cast. It will recover quickly once water is applied. Try not to wait until your grass is browning out to apply water. The point here is to find a happy medium.With all the rain we have been having the grass will panic very quickly now that the heat has been cranked up.

If you are unsure if your sprinkler is running at peak efficiency, have it checked by a professional.

Keep it green!

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