10 EASY TIPS TO REDUCE OUTDOOR WATER USE
Adjust sprinklers to
avoid watering pavement and other things that do not grow.
Do not water when it is
windy or raining.
Avoid daytime watering.
It is best to water between midnight and sunrise.
Sprinklers are great
for grass, but use drip irrigation or soaker hoses on flowers,
shrubs, gardens and trees.
Spread mulch around
flowers, shrubs, trees and garden plants to retain soil moisture.
Do not plant grass on
Do not put grass in
areas less than 10 feet wide.
Hand-water dry spots
rather than over-watering the entire lawn.
Install a shutoff
nozzle on your hose.
Xeriscape (i.e. place
native, drought resistant plants where they will get the most water
and light naturally).
WHAT ELSE CAN CUSTOMERS DO?
Maintain three to five inches of
mulch on their landscape.
Mulch holds moisture in the soil and prevents evaporation from the
soil surface. Fine-textured mulches, such as pine straw,
mini-nuggets and shredded hardwood mulch do a better job of
conserving moisture than coarse-textured mulch. Apply mulch to as
large an area as possible under the plant. Remember the roots of
established woody ornamentals extend two to three times the canopy
spread. Consider placing two to three sheets of newspaper under
mulch. Pull back existing mulch with a leaf rake, moisten the paper
and rake back the mulch over the newspaper. This practice will help
Use a hand-held hose to apply water
only to those plants that show signs of wilt.
Priority should be given to newly planted trees and shrubs (those
installed within the past four months). Water these plants every
seven to 10 days during the absence of rainfall.
Avoid shallow watering.
The worst thing one can do for plants is to water them frequently
and shallowly. Shallow frequent watering encourages a weak root
system and reduces the drought tolerance of plants.
Direct water to the roots – not the
leaves. Avoid wetting the
foliage of ornamental plants if possible. Wetting the foliage
encourages diseases and results in evaporative water loss.
Use drip or trickle irrigation or a
soaker hose. Drip
irrigation uses 50% less water than conventional sprinkler
irrigation and applies water slowly and directly to the root system.
Install a timer and a rain sensor on
outdoor irrigation systems.
A rain sensor detects when rain is falling and turns the irrigation
system off and on. Rain sensors are add-on equipment, but are
inexpensive and usually re-pay their cost in water savings in a
couple of years. If the existing system does not have a rain sensor,
one can purchase it at a local home improvement store. You can
install it yourself or have an irrigation contractor install one for
you. Place the rain sensor in a location not covered by building
eves and that does not get hit with irrigation water. For homes, a
location where there are no trees for interference attached to the
roof edge works well. Let rainfall be the main water source for your
landscape whenever possible. The easiest way to make good use of
rainfall is to have a rain sensor connected into your control
system. Of course, irrigation needs will change from year to year
according to how much rainfall occurs. Watering needs also change
with the seasons. A good controller will let you adjust for the
seasons by using a percentage conversion on the standard program.