Are you ‘smart’ in your lawn and landscape irrigating habits? Since July has been named Smart Irrigation Month by the Irrigation Association, now is a good time to measure your irrigation I.Q.
Why is your irrigation I.Q. important?
Well, it’s important on a micro-scale: the smarter you are about your irrigating habits, the better off your lawn, landscape and bank account will be. But it’s important on a macro-scale too. That’s because water is becoming an increasingly precious resource. And even if you live in an area that isn’t yet feeling the pressure of water scarcity, being smart in your usage of the stuff is for the global good.
And that’s why the Irrigation Association started recognizing the month of July as Smart Irrigation Month back in 2005. They wanted a focal point on the calendar for promoting efficient water use.
Tips for Smartly Irrigating Your Lawn and Landscape
According to the Irrigation Association, there’s a lot you can do to be ‘smart’ in managing the irrigation of your property. Here are some of the tips offered by the IA for raising your irrigation I.Q.:
Prudent Plant Selection: Some plant species simply require less water than others. And some species are more suitable for your local climate than others. So you can positively impact the quantity of water you have to supply to your landscape by being smart in selecting the types of plants and lawn grasses you choose to plant.
Aerate and Compost: Keeping the soil aerated around trees and in your lawn will help water to be used more efficiently by improving water penetration. Plan on aerating your lawn once per year. And adding lots of compost to soil before planting lawn grass or ornamental plants will help to increase the moisture retention capabilities of your soil. That will result in helping to reduce both the frequency and quantity of water that must be applied to keep plants healthy.
Mulch Much: A nice, thick layer of mulch can do wonders for water conservation. And mulching offers some other important benefits as well, including weed suppression and soil temperature stability. Apply 2 to 4 inches of mulch around the bases of trees, bushes and ornamental plants.
“Hydro-Zone” Your Landscape: Group plants in your lawn and landscape according to their watering needs. Don’t mix plants that have high water requirements with those that require less water. That way, the water you apply to each zone will be just the right amount for each plant in the zone, without some of the plants receiving too much water, or some of them too little. You’ll use less water overall, and your plants will be healthier.
Take a Summertime Break On Planting: Have plans for adding some new plants to your lawn or landscape? Put them on hold until fall or spring. If you plant during the heat of summer, you’ll have to supply the new plants with a huge amount of water to ensure their survival in the summer heat. Planting in the milder temperatures of spring or fall will conserve lots of water. And it will be more comfortable for the planter as well as the plants.
Don’t Be Stingy with Shade: Shade is good. Having lots of shade in your landscape will greatly reduce water use. And the trees that create that shade also serve as natural air conditioners, lowering both air and soil temperatures and slowing the loss of moisture from the soil. So plant lots of shade trees.
One Other Tip…
The Irrigation Association also recommends the professional installation of an automated irrigation system as one of the best ways to conserve water. They advise that a professionally installed and maintained system will minimize water waste and help to maintain your lawn and landscape in optimum health.
So if you’ve been on the fence about having a system installed, now would be a great time to make a move. After all, this is the month for “smart” irrigation decisions!