The Irrigation Water Management Society
Certified Site Water Planner (CSWP)
A. The fact is that plants and lawn thrive on the
right amount of water. If you over water turf it begins to suffer from
oxygen deficiency. That means that it will start to take on a light
green/yellow appearance. Many people assume these symptoms mean that it
is drying out and water more! Another reason is that the lawn is always
mushy and wet and cannot be walked or played on. Your mower will leave
tracks in the grass which are unsightly.
In humid areas you will start to see problems with fungus and other diseases. People who over-water use more fertilizer because they are constantly washing the fertilizer and nutrients out of their lawn by over-watering. More chemicals are also applied to over-watered lawns to combat fungus and disease that is caused by over-watering. Finally over-watered turf grows fast and long which means more mowing.
Plants are another problem. When you over-water shrubs it takes a while for the symptoms to show up. The problem is that once you see the symptoms (pale sickly leaves), it is usually too late. Even if you've stopped watering the plant it will usually die. Watering efficiently is a wise and prudent practice wherever you may live.
A. In a perfect world automatic systems save water over hand watering under the following conditions:
Very few automatic systems meet all of these conditions. Those that do should maintain good appearance and reduce water bills.
A. That is a very complicated question. It depends
on what you are watering, where you live, the soil type and the
uniformity of your system. Consult a professional and have them develop
a detailed custom schedule for your landscape. There are also some
calculators on the Internet that might help.
The most common problem is people water too long and too frequently. A healthy turf should be able to go 2-3 days even in the hottest time of year between watering.
A. Yes, No, Maybe. In most cases drip is any excellent option for shrubs of all types. It needs to be designed correctly and installed properly. If you have dogs that chew, many enjoy tearing the drip out of beds and playing with it. It can offer hours of playful enjoyment for your pets. Drip waters in a way that most plants love deeply: slowly and without wetting the leaves.
A. No, not usually. The two main types of heads are spray (or mist) heads and rotors. Rotor heads pop up and have a single stream that rotates. Spray heads have a fan or mist that is in a fixed pattern. Spray heads typically apply 3 times more water over a given area than rotors. Sprays and rotors should always be on different zones and water independently. Sprays only need to water for 5-10 minutes while some rotor zones need to water for 45 minutes to an hour.
A. Yes. Most newer controllers have a water percent adjust function. This allows you to simply change your watering times by a percentage with just one adjustment for the whole system. For example, letís say your controller is set for hot July weather and now it is late August and is cooling off a bit. You can go to your controller and reduce the watering by 10%-20% with just a touch of a button.
A. Yes, and we have. There are now controllers out there with sensors that can monitor the weather and soil moisture and make automatic adjustments to your sprinkler runtimes and days based on actual local conditions. Check with you local contractor or sprinkler supplies for options in your area.
A. This is a fancy word for plant water use. It is the amount of water that your plants use in a given time usually measured in inches in the UA. For example, your lawns (depending where you live) may use .15 inches a day, 1.05Ē inches a week or 4.65Ē inches a month (this may vary greatly by location and time of year).
A. If we know that our turf uses 1Ē of water per week, then we now know that we need to replace that 1 inch of water which was used. By calculating a sprinklerís precipitation rate we can then determine how many minutes it will take to replace the 1 inch used that week by the plants. In other words, picture the soil as a bucket of water. As water is removed from our ďbucketĒ we need to replace it. That is the essence of watering. Some people like to compare it to a check book. As you spend money from your account you need to make deposits. That is what we do when we calculate watering schedules.
A. A rain sensor (or rain switch) is a device that prevents your automatic system from operating after it rains. It simply acts like a switch and does not allow electricity to go to your remote electric valves after a certain amount of rain falls. They are adjustable from about 1/8Ē to 1Ē of rain. These devices are inexpensive and require little or no maintenance. They should be standard on any system.
A. Yes. A well planned landscape can reduce your water use considerably. You can:
A. Absolutely not. It is possible to have a lush green landscape and still dramatically reduce your water use. Consult a professional to help you better manage your water use in a way that does not negatively affect your lifestyle.
A. Watch for the following signs of over-watering: