Irrigation techniques to help customers beat the heat

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With temperatures continuing to rise across the nation, the need for a well-watered landscape has skyrocketed.

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While all lawns, landscapes and plants need an appropriate amount of water to thrive and survive, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ensure that lawns with varieties of plants are watered accordingly.

In honor of Smart Irrigation Month, the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC) have created a list of their top irrigation tips to ensure that your customer’s landscape looks beautiful and holds its longevity.

Save water with drip irrigation

Consider watering every plant in the landscape, except the grass, with drip irrigation. Drip irrigation helps save water and fertilizer by letting water slowly drip to the roots of plants through a network of valves, emitters, tubing and pipes.

Using this form of irrigation helps keep water from evaporating or spilling, and the water goes directly to the root system of the plants, where it is most needed. If possible, try converting spray heads that might not be as water efficient into drip irrigation nozzles. 

Avoid over watering

Over watering plants can be just as detrimental to a landscape as dehydrating it, so be sure to not get overzealous with the hose. The rise in temperatures can certainly tempt you and your customers to water more than usual, but avoid the urge. Over watering not only hurts the plants, it also runs up the utility bill.

According to the ALCC, over watering is the most common cause of death in plants because drowning a plant causes mold, mildew and fungus to grow, and too much water keeps roots from absorbing the oxygen it needs to live.

Sprinklers can’t make up for poor landscape design

Even if your customers spared no expense when it comes to the latest and greatest sprinkler system, it still can’t make up for a landscape that is poorly designed. Before taking on a landscape like this, take time to check it out and see what can be done to rectify the situation before suggesting options that may not pan out.

Check to see that plants with similar water needs are grouped together, and rezone sprinklers to help accommodate the needs of the differing trees, plants and shrubs.

If your customers are not suffering from an unfortunately designed landscape, talk to them about the idea of using a smart sprinkler system. Since your customer’s lawn will require a different amount of water each day and during each season, having a smart sprinkler system can help keep that under control.

These systems can account for evaporation, rain, plant water use and soil moisture, and ALCC says that soil moisture sensor kits are usually less than $200 and can increase your customer’s savings by 40 percent.

Soak, sit, repeat          

Set your customer’s system for several spaced and shorter cycles, as opposed to letting the irrigation run on one long cycle. Time the cycles about five minutes apart to make sure the water is absorbed deeper into the soil.

Using the soak and repeat method ensures the water and money won’t be wasted as run-off. The system should also not be used during the day. Make sure that the lawn is watered early in the morning and much later in the evening to avoid evaporation. ALCC says that when lawns are watered in the middle of the day, it results in a 30 percent loss of irrigation water.

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