With all of the recent rain we’ve had, I’m amazed at all of the irrigation systems I see still operating around town. Did you know that an established lawn only needs about one inch of water a week? This past week, we’ve had well over an inch of water, so that means there is no need to run the sprinklers.
Irrigation systems typically account for 50% of a family’s total water usage. So, if you are not aware of the amount of rain that has fallen or if you are not accounting for rainfall in your weekly watering regimen, you are most certainly wasting water and money.
Here are a few tips that will help you save water and money and perhaps even your lawn.
- Get a rain gauge to measure how much rain has fallen. You don’t need anything fancy, even a small metal can will do the job.
- Determine the proper irrigation schedule based on your particular lawn. For established lawns, it’s better if the irrigation system is programmed for one or two long, slow waterings a week. This encourages deep root growth, producing more drought tolerant turf. Newly seeded or sodded lawns need more frequent and shorter waterings until the blades of grass develop.
- Water at the right time. Program your irrigation system to go off overnight when the evaporation rate is lowest, the winds are lightest and the water pressure is the greatest. If you do this just once or twice a week you won’t have any problems with brown patch, a lawn fungus that thrives in moist conditions and can kill grass.
- Watch the forecast. If rain is in the forecast turn your system off. You can always turn it back on in a day or two if needed.
- Don’t over-water! Too much of a good thing is bad in this case. When you over-water you waste water and money. Plus the excess water creates runoff that carries lawn chemicals; clippings and sediment into nearby storm drains polluting our drinking water supply.