Irrigation Basics

Healthy landscapes offer a variety of advantages for the home. They not only add aesthetic value, but can also provide erosion protection, temperature control and serve as usable outdoor space for relaxing and entertaining. Oftentimes however, North Texas landscapes can be over-watered, over- fertilized or over-saturated with pesticides, which can be detrimental to water resources and your landscape.

The EPA estimates that in dry climates like that of North Texas, a household’s outdoor water use can exceed the amount of water used for all other residential purposes! In some households, during summer, as much as 60% of a total water budget could be spent on landscape irrigation.

By incorporating irrigation best management practices and by selecting the right plant material for your specific needs, you have the potential to drastically reduce water and chemical use in your landscape.

Remember, irrigation systems are designed to supplement the lack of rainfall. Your system might just consist of you and a hose- end sprinkler and soaker hose, or it might include an automated controller with permanent irrigation heads. In either case, to transition towards a more sustainable lawn and landscape, you should irrigate less often but deeply, as opposed to more often and in shorter intervals.

Smallscape

Automated Systems

Irrigation controller

This type of irrigation system is designed to maintain soil moisture and ultimately to protect the overall health of your landscape. In times of sufficient or excessive rainfall, irrigation systems should be in the off position. When supplemental water is needed, the delivery systems should precisely deliver the water without waste. Accurately calculating plant water needs and taking into consideration soil type as well as slopes in the terrain (which might influence water flow) will help determine the best delivery system to avoid water waste.

Sprinkler heads should be adjusted properly to avoid misting, or over-spraying sidewalks, driveways and streets.

Turf areas may require water more frequently than beds with native and adapted perennial plants or shrubs. Areas with mature trees may require watering deeper and more infrequently than the rest of your landscape.

By hydro-zoning or designing your system to water these areas separately, you will avoid both over-watering and/ or under-watering your plant material.

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