Water Wisely

On June 24, 2012

Water in Your Garden: How Much is Just Enough?

Everyone knows we need to conserve water. Our water bills are hammering the point home. One major area of concern is our landscapes. What can we do to save water and still maintain the aesthetic quality of our landscape? The following are tips to conserving irrigation water.

Climate, sun exposure, soil type, plant type are all conditions that will dictate how much water your plants will need. Sandy soil in a sunny location will dry out much faster than shady, clay soils because of the warmer temperature and the porosity of the soil. Clay soils will hold moisture longer and need water less often because it is made up of smaller particles. Certain plants such as ferns and camellias will require moister, shadier locations. Knowing the conditions in your garden can give you valuable information on how to care for and water your plants.

Ideally you should have water-loving plants and drought tolerant plants growing in separate zones of the garden so you can water them differently. If you have a permanent sprinkler system set up, it should isolate these zones so you can adjust the watering time accordingly so as not to over-water the drought tolerant species in order to correctly water the others.

Give Established Plants a Good Soak

If you are manually watering your landscape, wait until you see the first signs of stress before turning on that hose. Don’t get caught in a fixed schedule that assumes your plants need watering every other day or every three days or so on. Give them what they need, when they need it, based on the environmental conditions.

Watering plants deeper and less often will encourage deeper rooting and therefore allow the plants to withstand drought for a longer period of time. Newly planted, shallow rooted material may need more frequent irrigation initially until the plants become established. Afterwards, you can start cutting back on the water.

Do You Have a SMART Water Controller?

If you have an automatic irrigation system, you might consider upgrading to a ‘SMART’ controller. These new hybrid controllers can tap into internet provided weather information and automatically shut the irrigation system off when the weather conditions warrant it. Other controllers use sensing devices that are installed outdoors in the open air and relay conditions wirelessly back to the controller.

Regardless of the system you use, make sure your sprinkler heads are adjusted and operating properly. Leaky sprinkler heads and drip lines along with poorly adjusted spray patterns that water sidewalks, patios, etc will increase your water usage and water bill dramatically.

If this information has helped you to conserve water in your landscape and maybe even lower your monthly bill, let me know in the comments below.

Comments are closed.