When To Water & For How Long?


When should I water my lawn and for how long?


Controllers
Regardless of whether you live in the country or the city, the best time to water your lawn is in the early morning. This is the time of day when your lawn will absorb the most H2O and you will lose the lease H2O to evaporation. However, one bonus to watering in the early morning for city dwellers is that the water pressure will be at it’s peak before the population of you city gets up and starts using up all that water pressure for showers and baths! For rural folks, whose water comes from a well or direct from a lake, or pond or other source through an onsite pump.

Avoid watering during the day time, especially when the sun is at it’s brightest. Only a fraction of that precious water will actually make it to the grass.

How much should I water my lawn?

The amount you must water your lawn is largely impacted by the amount of rainfall you get where you live. This will be driven by the weather and a phenomenon called evapotranspiration (i.e. “ET”.) ET is the combined effect of water used by the plant and that which is lost to evaporation. ET is expressed in inches (or mm) of water per week. So based on the amount of water your grass takes in for nutrition and the amount of water that the environment takes out of the soil, you will have a new amount of water that has been debited due to ET and must subsequently be replaced.  Often times a local university will have accurate ET rates for your area of the country. You may also be able to find these rates published regularly in the newspaper or on a website.

How deep into the soil should water penetrate?

Soil-depthGenerally speaking, water should be able to penetrate down 6-inches into the “root zone” of the lawn. Ideally it is time to water again when that water level is at about 3-inches. You can check this in a variety of ways, by using different tools such as a shovel, a soil sample puller, or a digital sensor.

How much is too much (or too little?)

Most people are surprised to discover that there is more damage done, by overwatering a lawn than by under-watering it. This is due largely in part to the plant structures inability to extract the water left in the soil once so much water has washed through it. Without the water to provide it nourishment the grass becomes susceptible to insect problems, physical damage and disease.

What happens to grass during a drought?

ng655_01_front TurfSpyGuideIf your lawn can’t get enough water it will first go into a dormant stage, often marked by a bluish color. If the drought continues until the soil water is fully used, death will result for most cool-season grasses. Bermudas and other warm-season grasses will probably recover, however, the lawn’s quality will not.

 

 

Save Water Without Sacrificing a Beautiful Lawn


Save thousands of gallons of water and have the best looking lawn on your block by using these simple tricks.

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Every year I look forward to winter for one very big, very important reason…no more lawn care or yard work. I used to live in the northern states where in the winter you would trade in your lawn care tools and tasks for snow removal tools and tasks. But Now that I live in the warmer southern states I don’t have to worry about snow removal (except for a few freak incidents resulting from this year’s totally bonkers winter – but that’s another topic altogether!)

But alas, the end of winter is coming into focus and it won’t be long before we will all have to get out our lawn mowers and weed wackers. So lets review some simple ways you can save water this summer while creating the greenest most beautiful lawn on your block

Mulch

2014-02-24_10-04-28spin_prod_242147301Mulching your grass clippings and allowing them to return back to the ground instead of bagging them and discarding them will help to conserve water use. The clippings act as an insulation of sorts preventing the moisture loss. Even if your lawn mower is not designed to be a mulching mower, you can buy special blades that will help to chop the clippings more finely allowing them to fall down into the grass.

When To Water

shutterstock_71595412Knowing when to water is key. It is sometimes mistakenly thought that the best time to water is at the height of the days heat and direct sunlight exposure; possibly because it is thought that the moisture will provide a break from the intense stress of the sun and heat. However, this is just simply not true, the best times to water is the early morning and the late evening… when the sun is lower on the horizon and the winds are typically at their lowest. These conditions help the water to not evaporate uselessly.

Timer

shutterstock_172496273You lawn has needs too! Be sensitive to the needs of your lawn and give it what it wants! Far too many people think that a sprinkler system is a set it and forget it type of system. (And while we hope that it does function in a set-it-and-forget-it fashion, the timing does need some attention on a month to month basis,) As the seasons change, the amount of water required by your lawn will change as well. In northern climates where sprinkler systems are decommissioned in the winter and blown out, the watering times shown below will only apply to the months where you are watering, whereas in warmer southern states climates year round watering should follow a pattern resembling this one. The following table shows a general idea of the amount of water you need to apply to your lawn based on the time of the year.

January – 12 minutes July – 49 minutes
February – 10 minutes August – 60 minutes
March – 17 minutes September – 48 minutes
April – 40 minutes October – 43 minutes
May – 64 minutes November – 32 minutes
June – 50 minutes December – 16 minutes

Cut It High, It Won’t Be Dry –

shutterstock_122944705During the growing season of the lawn, it is best to allow the grass to stay higher. Taller grass is much more healthy and robust than a tightly shorn lawn is. Some people advocate that the first mowing of the season be a very close one, however, we recommend that you de-thatched your lawn prior to the first mowing by using a power-rake to remove last years remaining dead matter. This process along with aeration will give the lawn the best access possible to fresh air, water and sunlight. Then going forward throughout the growing season the lawn should not be mowed down really short — taller grass is healthier. This does mean that you will have to mow more often, but it will provide you with a much greener, much more beautiful and less thirsty lawn.

Water Brown Spots with a Hose 

shutterstock_1505857972014-02-24_11-19-07During the main growing season of the year, if you have a brown spot in your yard, and you have checked to ensure your sprinkler are hitting it, rather than running the system for longer time, you can water that single spot using much less water  by using a hose with sprinkler on the end. Purchase and incorporate an automatic shutoff to prevent from over watering. Simply set the sprinkler to cover the brown area of the yard and set the timer to shut it off, so you don’t forget about it.

If you find that the brown spot is not greening up after being given plenty of water, then you should probably look into other issues such as a fungus, or grubs which can cause a brown spot or dead spot inspite of receiving plenty of water. There are solutions for applying all-natural insecticides directly through the sprinkler system.

Collect Rain Water –

rainbarrel_greenshutterstock_127813637You can conserve a tremendous amount of water by using recycled rainwater to water your plants, especially if you are the type who uses a running hose to water your plants. The good news is that if your home has rain gutters already installed, then collecting rainwater may be easier than you thought! Simply allow the water to collect on it’s own in a rain barrel designed to collect and store water, whenever it rains and use that water in a watering can to water your plants.

Use a Rain Sensor With Your Sprinkler Timer—

Open-box-things-out_bundleTechnology has brought so many different area of our lives into the 21st century digital world. This is no exception for the area of sprinkler controllers. By incorporating the use of internet connections, and sensors seeing a sprinkler system running while it is raining is now a thing of the past! Get a controller which can access the weather report and adjust it’s control automatically, or install a rain sensor to shut down the system when it senses rain.

New Landscape Will Save You Money


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New Landscape Will Save You $$

Planning for your customer’s spring time landscape will need to be done soon. Saving money and water can be a great way to keep your wallet fat and your customers coming back. Instead of trying the usual bargaining tools next time you’re enticing a client to accept your bid, try including some of the following advice. Installing a new landscape will SAVE you money. “Save me money? That’s impossible!”

In fact it is not, the truth is certain shrubs and plants can save your client money because they require less maintenance, less water, and sometimes more space. Your landscape design will still look well put together, but will be in a sense cheaper. Well designed landscapes can produce significant energy savings for both cooling and heating of buildings and homes. You can reduce a client’s A/C costs by having trees strategically positioned around the home. Evergreens in cold climates can provide shelter from the weather for less heating requirements in a home.

A well designed landscape can:

Trap Noise

Create Ambiance

Reduce Water Usage

Reduce A/C and Heating costs

Encourage activities outdoors

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If you are just about close on a deal, consider letting your potential client know just how much cheaper than the “other guys” you can be by designing and integrating a well thought out plan.

How we picked our team. Irrigation supplies, major league


Ever wonder why a company picks certain products to carry?  Sometimes it is obvious: if you are going to sell groceries you need to sell Kraft products. Sometimes it is not, like the Tabasco flavored tequila now on the market. Don’t try that one. Seriously.

Choosing the product lines for Sprinkler Warehouse involved both the obvious and the lesser known. The major requirement of each brand was that it was reliable, did what it said it would do and would show our pride in our company.

The obvious. You cannot discuss irrigation without involving Hunter and Rain Bird. Both of these companies are dedicated to irrigation and produce a full line of products. It would be extremely difficult to think of an irrigation requirement that they cannot fulfill.

There are a few others.

The one you’ve heard of but didn’t think about for irrigation.

The Toro Company. Ever wonder why it’s named “Toro”? I did. Seems it was started in 1916 to build tractors for Bull Tractors. Fits right in there, doesn’t it?  Toro is most famous for its commercial and residential lawn and tractor equipment, snow blowers and utility vehicles.  Not as well known is the fact Toro has been in the irrigation business since 1962. They produce a full complement of irrigation supplies and have one of the most innovative controllers on the market, the battery operated and waterproof DDCWP. They also produce the highly efficient Precision Series spray nozzle.

Some you may not have heard of but need to.

The K-Rain Corporation.  It’s not often you find a company started by a rocket scientist. This one is. It was founded 1974 by Carl Kah, a former manager of the U.S. Air Force’s reusable rocket engine program. According to Carl, “Thespace program set an example for all of us in business to follow. There is always something that needs to be improved.”  K-Rain keeps improving, having over 90 patents so far, including one for the Indexing valve, a Kah invention that reduces the need for five valves down to one. Their continuing quest for improvement enables them to bring quality products to market with prices noticeably lower than many of their competitors.

The DIG Corporation. DIG was founded in 1981 to do one thing and one thing only: provide efficient, cost effective low volume irrigation systems. “Low volume” is commonly known as drip or micro irrigation. That’s all they do and they are very good at it. They have anything you can think of for a drip system, whether it’s in your garden, your flower pots, under turf or in plant nurseries. They drip, spray, fog, mist and stream. They also provide the LEIT controllers. Powered by ambient light, LEIT controllers are much more sensitive than solar power, giving you more options for controller locations.

Cyber Rain Inc.  No other irrigation controller out there is as versatile, flexible, high-tech and just flat cool as the Cyber Rain Cloud controller. Need shade, order up a cloud, no problem! (sorry, couldn’t resist.) The Cyber-Rain Cloud controller does everything you can ask for and you control it from anywhere. Whip out your Android, iPhone or Blackberry phone, check your system performance, make changes and, instead of Zone 1 or Zone 4 you see a picture of the area. Why remember zone numbers when you can see what it covers? It checks the weather and automatically adjusts your irrigation schedule to match and, since Cyber-Rain uses the internet, weather updates are always free! Now folks, that’s pretty hard to beat.

Every member of our team was drafted after careful consideration. We’re glad to have them and look forward to the upcoming series/bowl.

Drought? There ain’t no stinkin’ drought. Waiter! Two drops of water, please.


So let’s talk about money. Yours, mine, yours and yours. I do want to go over one water fact first. It’s a surprising fact to many people, even though it’s obvious. Fact: the Earth will never, ever run out of water. Ever. Never. Can’t happen until the Sun novas or the asteroid-to-end-all hits.

Great news, huh? Sure beats the ‘not enough water to water the crops’ and ‘not enough water to drink’ rants you hear all the time now.  Want water? We have water.

All you have to do is pay for it. And it’s going to get very, very expensive. Costs are going up. Eden Prairie, Minnesota: +7%; Clay Center, Kansas: +26%; Hershey, Pennsylvania: +14%; Sacramento, California: +27%.

Eyes glazed over yet? Mine did and I’m writing this. Don’t want to pay? Fine, go get the water. It’s in the ocean (remove salt and fish before use) or the nearest lake (long walk in Arizona) or deep underground. Start digging.

The problem is not the lack of water. It’s the lack of drinkable water in particular areas. Lots of it today in Houston, Texas.  Not so much in San Antonio, Texas.  Or parts of Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, etc. Getting water from one place to another costs lots of money. Lots. Whether you are pumping from underground (now discouraged), piping in from near or distant lakes, or pulling from a river, it’s expensive.

And it’s not just the drought that’s causing prices to increase. Sometimes you are just mussel bound. No, not the gym kind. Mussel. Like aquatic animal. Zebra Mussels have clogged up water pipes at numerous municipal water supplies. The Great Lakes has them. Lake Takoma in Texas has them. They are clogging the water supply lines and are expected to cost the US $5 billion in control efforts and reparation. How big is this monster? About the size of a dime.

What else is causing your water bill to go up? Surprisingly, the fact that we are using less water. Water districts have fixed costs/overhead, such as electricity, payroll, insurance, equipment, fuel, supplies, etc. All budgets are figured on a estimate of how much water is sold divided by overhead equals cost per gallon.  Gallons sold/fixed costs = cost per gallon.

Well, when you use less water (you meaning everyone as a whole), the quantity of gallons sold goes down. This means the district does not sell enough to cover its costs. It now has to raise the cost per gallon to match the fixed costs. So cost per gallon goes up and usually stays there.

Confused? Use the donut idea. Pretend you sell donuts for $.05 (5 cents) each and you clear $.01 per donut. Now say it costs you $1.00 to operate. You have to sell 100 donuts to break even. If Weight Watchers moves into your neighborhood and half your neighborhood joins, you can only sell 50 donuts. This means you only make $0.50.  That’s not $1.00 by a long shot. So you have to raise the price of each donut to $.06 to keep your $1.00  (ain’t finance fun!).

Water costs are going up. Conservation does help, as it means we need fewer pumps and less piping. But, as you can see, it’s not a cure. The reasons are varied and the drought is involved but it’s not the only thing.

That’s it. Not trying to sell anything, except possibly water conservation. Just trying to help you understand where your money is going and why.