Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July is Smart Irrigation Month

Landscapes require the largest amounts of water in July making July Smart Irrigation month. A plants water-loss through evapotranspiration, the combination of evaporation and transpiration into the air, is highest this month. If you have an irrigation controller with a seasonal adjustment that allows flexibility to change the watering durations to meet the seasonal water needs of the landscape, it can now be set to 100% ET. Supplemental water deliverance being the highest this month also means that if an irrigation system has efficiency issues, it will also waste high amounts of water. So here are some Smart water savings tips and items to check in your irrigation system to minimize potential water-loss.

- Water early in the morning, never in the middle of the day or early evening, and not when it’s windy

- Schedule individual zones in your system to meet the needs of the specific plant material in that zone. Established shrubs, for instance, require nowhere near the water a thirsty lawn does. And hydrozone, keeping plants with similar water needs together

- Lawn sprinklers need almost constant adjustment. Fine-tune them to minimize watering the pavement.

- Check for leaks, clogs, and sprinklers blocked by growing plant material

- “Drip Happens” … drip irrigation is more than 2x more efficient than spray so convert wherever possible

- Allow some dry-out days between waterings. Overwatered soils can lead to several issues, even plant death

- Get a weather sensitive Smart Controller

- Save water and money by getting an irrigation system audit! I have appointment times available.

An estimated 50%-70% of a properties monthly water usage is outdoors. By keeping up on the irrigation system, it can save a lot of water and money. If you have any questions or comments about what you’ve read, please let me know.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Arbor Day….let's get out and plant something!

Arbor Day has been celebrated since 1872. In California, Arbor Day is more like a week, running March 7-14, and if you are planning to plant a tree(s) this year it is important to make the proper tree selection for the area you have chosen. I know you have seen those lifting sidewalks being ramped by the root structure of a tree, or even a lifted street gutter. I’m sure you have also noticed oddly shaped or even topped trees under power lines, where, a better tree selection would have been a shorter grower. Perhaps you have experienced having to cut tree branches away from your home because the tree was just planted too close. Placing the right tree, in the right place is as important as planting the tree itself.

A few benefits of properly located trees are:
  • wildlife habitat • home energy savings • clean air
  • natural growth pattern • increased property value • erosion control
  • beauty ...and the list goes on.
Here are some additional resources on tree selection and placement:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Irrigation Control Settings for March

March is here and so is the potential need for supplemental irrigation. Your irrigation controller should be set to deliver only 5% of what it would in July. However, with the consistent soaking rainfall we've been experiencing in the bay area, the need to flip the switch to ON or RUN could certainly be delayed. My controller has been off since early November and not going back on until a more significant dry period, maybe, 1 1/2 - 2 weeks...