As the heat of the summer hits, many homeowners are spending more time watering their lawn and landscape. In fact, experts estimate that July is one of the top months for landscape water use. That’s why the Irrigation Association (IA) has designated July as ‘Smart Irrigation Month’.
Nationwide, landscape irrigation is estimated to account for almost one-third of all residential water use, totaling more than 7 billion gallons per day. Experts estimate that up to 50 percent of that water is lost due to over-watering, evaporation, or bad irrigation system design and maintenance. Here are some tips from the water management experts at Toro on how you can water your lawn and landscape with the utmost efficiency.
- Put a layer of mulch around your plants. Mulching helps to retain moisture and prevents evaporation. A generous amount of 3-to-5 inches is best.
- Raise the blade on your lawn mower. Closely cropped grass requires more water.
- Recycle your grass clippings back into your lawn by using a mulching mower. You’ll not only conserve water, you’ll save time while mowing.
- If you use a hose and portable sprinkler, buy a hose end timer to regulate your watering time.
- Consider installing a home irrigation system. Properly installed automatic sprinkler and drip irrigation systems can eliminate the time and hassle of hauling hoses around your property. More important, irrigation systems decrease water consumption by improving the accuracy, timing and delivery of water, reducing runoff and preventing over watering.
- If you already have a home irrigation system, consider upgrading your timer. New technology makes it easier than ever to program and monitor your watering needs. Also, make sure your system has a rain sensor. Many states and local water districts now require rain sensors that interrupt the watering program when a specific amount of rain has fallen.
- Sweep your sidewalks and driveway rather than hosing them down.
- Plant native plants that are adapted to your climate; they require less watering and can reduce outdoor water use by 20 to 50 percent.
- Install a drip irrigation system around your shrubs, hanging baskets, flower and vegetable gardens. Drip irrigation systems use 50 percent less water than conventional sprinklers.
- The best time to water is in the morning. Watering during this time of day reduces the amount of evaporation and allows plants to dry out during the day, which cuts down on diseases.
- Group plants with similar watering needs together.
- Remove weeds regularly as they compete with your lawn for water.