Do you find your water bill going up each month you water your landscaping along with the rest of your bills? You might even question just how much water your landscaping really needs. Perhaps it's time for you to think about how to make your watering more efficient so you have beautiful landscaping but save water as well.
To water our landscaping, we use either some type of automated sprinkler system or a sprinkler that is dragged from spot to spot. Right from the big corporations right down to the homeowner with just a speck of a lawn, most people use or want to use some type of automated watering system. You have probably seen water from automated sprinkler systems running off the grass and running down the street. I don't know about you, but here in the arid West, when I see this, it makes me quite angry. This even can be seen in droughts where a typical homeowner may have to water his plants with saved waste water from inside his home. This is not exactly an efficient use of water. All around the country there are problems with having clean water. It just doesn't make sense to waste water.
Yet most landscaping owners use an inefficient and wasteful watering system. Here are a few tips to make watering your landscaping more efficient and less wasteful.
Watering systems for your landscaping vary. Find one that is most efficient for your needs. A good rule of thumb is that the larger the water drop delivered and the closer to the ground the better it is. Using a system that delivers a fine spray up into the air will lose much of the water to evaporation and to wind.
Surprisingly, hand held hose watering was found to be the most water-efficient way to provide moisture to your landscaping. It uses 33% less water than the average household uses to water their plants.
Studies found that of the automated watering systems, in ground sprinkler systems used 35% more and those with automatic timers use 47% more water than places that did not use such automated systems. These timesaving devices aren't saving you money or water.
Adding rain sensors, or better yet, soil sensors to your automated watering system saves water. You don't end up with the sprinkler system coming on in the middle of a rainstorm or right after one when the ground is already soaked.
Automated drip irrigation systems were found to be more efficient in the study using only 16% more than used by non-automated watering households. Add the above sensors and you will have an even better system.
Perhaps the best tip is to not over water. This goes to more than not watering after a rainstorm. It includes watering to your landscaping plants' specific moisture requirements. Consider including less water intensive plantings in your landscaping. It means watering, as your soil requires. Adjust your watering schedule from that needed in the high temperatures of summer to the less watering needed in fall as temperatures go down.
Copyright 2005, Sandra Dinkins-Wilson
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