Save The Water
Posted in Lawn and Landscape on February 11, 2014
Save the Water! Water-efficient Landscaping to the Rescue!
Everyone these days wants to conserve natural resources. Water is one of the most precious resources we have and in some areas, it is in need of conservation. There are many ways to be water-efficient, but many people don’t know where to start. Check out our suggestions on reducing run-off and boosting plant health.
Irrigation System Tune-ups and Upgrades
One of the biggest water wasters is an improperly functioning irrigation system. The drips and drops lost by a system with leaky and broken parts add up quickly. Repairing these issues may be a DIY project or you may want to hire a professional. The California Landscape Contractors Association is a great source for finding contractors near you.
If you’re system is old or “too far gone” to repair, now is a great time to consider an upgrade. There are several technological advances in irrigation systems that not only make the process easier to manage, but also greatly increase water efficiency. Hydro-Scape can help you make the SMART WATER CHOICE for your water-efficient landscape. Call us or stop by your favorite location! Here are some great options we can show you:
- Smart Controllers: These are the masterminds of irrigation. Using a high-tech combination of sensors and meters, Smart Controllers automatically adjust watering frequency and duration based on rain, wind, moisture, evaporation/transpiration rates and even plant type. You can even get rebates on controllers for commercial, municipal, single- and multi-family residential sites!
- Garden moisture sensors are another great way to insure that your plants are watered only as much as needed. This prevents waste and keeps your plants healthy as they’re not being over-watered.
- Low-precipitation multi-stream rotators make great replacements for spray heads for lawns and shrubs. They use 30% less water due to slower, more even application.
- Low-volume spray heads, drip irrigation, and bubblers are great options for planter beds and shrubs. It’s important, though, to place drip irrigation lines in areas where they won’t be accidentally disconnected by children or animals.
Whether you choose to upgrade or repair your existing irrigation system, you can increase the water-efficiency of your landscape by resetting your irrigation timer to reduce watering frequency. However, don’t reduce the duration of each watering session. Adjust your controller for seasonal weather changes and turn off your system when it rains if you don’t have an automatic rain or soil moisture sensor. Always follow your local watering restrictions and guidelines.
Soil & Lawn Aeration
As time passes, soil compacts and hardens forming an almost water-proof surface. You can aerate or break up this barrier and let the water soak in so your plants can get necessary oxygen and nutrients. You’ll have less water run-off, too. It’s important to work carefully around root zones in planter beds to prevent damage. A simple hand tool is all you need to gently break up the soil.
Lawns also benefit from aeration, but the method is different. You want a coring aerator, either manual or machine, both are easy to use and the machines can be rented at home improvement stores. You need to water one to two days prior to aerating otherwise the soil compacts around the holes. Give each area two to three passes, making holes approximately three inches apart.
Mulching Benefits Plant Beds
Bare soil encourages evaporation which, in turn, steals water from your plants and causes you to use more water. Adding mulch, about two to three inches worth, to plant beds and around trees reduces water loss due to evaporation. Plus, it blocks weed growth and adds nutrients to the soil through decomposition. Avoid disease and decay by not covering the bases of trees and shrubs when you mulch.
A few changes in plants go a long way toward improving water-efficiency. Hydrozones, areas in which all plants have similar water requirements, greatly decrease water use. Choose plants that need less water and are right for the sun and space available in your garden. Adding soil amendments increases nutrition and water percolation, too. Don’t forget to mulch your new hydrozone and set the controller for that valve to add a little extra water until the new plants are established. Once they’ve settled in, reduce the water and enjoy!
If you’re ready for a full landscaping makeover, check out some of the great Garden Galleries and Garden Tours in the area for inspiration. Then, plan a completely new water-efficient landscape using the methods and ideas we’ve suggested. Happy conservation!