Saving Water Outdoors
In many cases, more than 50% of the water used at a residence goes outdoors for landscape irrigation. There are many drip-irrigation ways to save water outdoors. These will not only help conserve our water supply and keep our environment healthy, but they will also help save you money as well as cut back with the amount of time you spend on lawn maintenance.
- When irrigation is needed, apply 0.5 inch of water per application to replenish the grass. Saturating the root zone and allowing the soil to dry will encourage a deep root system, making you lawn drought and stress tolerant.
- Landscape with plants that are accustomed to Florida's climate and often require little to no water other than natural rainfall. They also rarely need fertilizers and pesticides applied.
- Water lawns in the early morning when temperature and wind speed are at the lowest.
- Irrigate only when you lawn needs water due to lack of rainfall. Over watering promotes fungus, disease, and weed growth. It also results in a shallow root system, making your lawn less drought and stress tolerant.
- Group plants according to their water needs and irrigate areas separately that require less water.
- Install a rain shutoff device to automatic sprinkler systems that will override the cycle when adequate rainfall has occurred. Florida law requires a rain shutoff device on all automatic sprinkler systems installed since 1991.
- Irrigate only when your lawn shows signs of stress. Visual signs include the lawn turning a bluish-gray color, footprints lingering after walking through the grass, and leaf blades folding in half.
- Use Drip/Micro-irrigation in plant beds and around trees. Micro irrigation applies water slowly and directly to the roots, saving water.
- Raise the height of your mower. Cut no more than one-third of the grass length to encourage the root system to grow deeper and leaf blades to hold more moisture.
Regular Irrigation Maintenance
Perform regular maintenance to irrigation systems to ensure efficiency. Check your system for:
- Spray heads missing, broken or clogged
- Spray heads pushed too far in the ground
- Spray heads tilted or spraying in the wrong direction (watering the street, driveway, or sidewalk)
- Observable leaks or breaks in the pipes
- Obstructions preventing the water from reaching the desired areas
Use mulch around plant beds, shrubs, and trees. Benefits of mulch include:
- Reduces evaporation
- Keeps soil warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer
- Helps control weed growth
- Reduces the maintenance around plants, trees, and shrubs