As we head into the hottest months of the year, there can be a tendency to overwater lawns. The EPA estimates that 50% of outdoor water use is wasted due in part to overwatering. Before you crank that sprinkler timer up with the temperature, here are some tips to keep your water and money from going down the drain.
A bright green lawn doesn’t always mean a healthy lawn. Over-watered lawns create shallow root systems due to plants finding water just under the surface. Seeding, fertilizing and weeding go to waste in the long-term if your grass is easily torn up or can’t survive temperature changes later in the season after your irrigation system has been winterized.
Accepting, grass should not be bright green during July and August is step one in getting a stronger root system. The key is to water less frequently, but for a longer period of time. A deeper, darker green versus a bright glistening green indicates the roots are working harder to find their water and therefore growing longer roots. The pay-off will be a more drought-resistant yard that stays green longer and comes back faster in the spring – not to mention a lower water bill!
Even a slight slope to a yard can create wasted water run-off when soil is packed down or contains a lot of clay. You could be watering the right amount, but if the slope impedes absorption, your lawn isn’t getting the full benefit.
Breaking up watering times for a sloped area of your yard can help save water and make for a healthier yard. For example, if your sloped backyard needs 10 minutes of watering time, you can create two 5-minute water schedules that are split up to allow for full absorption. Dividing your lawn’s water schedule time in half and cycling it twice can be a quick way to set-up cycle and soak schedules.
The time of day you water your lawn can have a big impact on watering efficiency. Some homeowners think watering during the middle of the day keeps a lawn from burning, but the opposite is true. Watering midday is when the soil is hardest – making water absorption difficult. The hot sun can also create a significant evaporation loss with some of the water never reaching your plants.
In most climates, the best time to water is right before sunrise. Early morning is when the soil is best primed for water absorption and plants get the water they need to stay strong for mid-day sun.
Some of these tasks can take some vigilance and more attention than a homeowner wants to spend during the fun, carefree days of summer. Smart sprinkler controllers entered the market in 2014 and have made huge strides to take the guesswork out of watering. The best smart controllers on the market not only allow you to control your system on your smartphone but also have weather monitoring that automatically adjusts your watering schedules for you.
Rachio, the highest-rated and reviewed smart controller on the market, allows a homeowner to personalize their zones with the type of vegetation, sun exposure, and slope so it can make smart watering schedule recommendations for a healthier yard. Customized details and geo-location technology allows Rachio to automatically cycle and soak, adjust schedules based on weather and can easily time your watering to end before sunrise. Premium, hyperlocal Weather IntelligenceTM Plus also keeps you from watering in the rain, snow, and wind.
If you have questions or are interested in getting a smart sprinkler controller, the experienced professionals at Ryan Lawn and Tree can help. Give us a call to get a free estimate today.