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MCL May/June 2014 - Water Conservation: Simple Tips for Big Results
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Water Conservation: Simple Tips for Big Results

by Bobby Jensen, Director of Sales, IrriGreen Inc.

Conserving water in your landscape doesn’t have to be complicated. Just use some of the following helpful tips to get started conserving water on your property.

  • Scatter a few empty tuna cans around your yard and turn on the irrigation system. Measure how much water is in the cans after 15 minutes of irrigation. Then calculate how long you should irrigate your lawn to apply about ½” of water. Irrigate every third day during the summer to apply a total of about one inch of water per week. Be sure to consider the amount of rainfall in achieving that one inch per week. Apply about half this amount the spring or fall, paying particular attention to the weather.

  • A healthy, properly irrigated turf rarely requires more than one inch of water per week. Watering less often, but deeply, forces the root system to follow the water down into the soil, where it is cooler and protected from extreme heat on the surface.

  • Lawn aeration improves water penetration and encourages deeper roots. Don’t over-fertilize the lawn.

  • Properly selected and applied fertilizer will build up drought tolerance by increasing root development.

  • Increase the cutting height to 3-4 inches and mulch clippings on the lawn to help retain moisture.

  • Have your irrigation system audited. Some water providers will conduct an irrigation audit for you either free or at minimal cost. If not, your local water provider can likely provide a list of irrigation auditors in your area.

  • Adjust your irrigation controllers’ run time for seasonal changes in weather once a month. Simply making a monthly change to the irrigation operation times can save more water and money than any other thing you can do.

  • Most controllers even have a % key that makes changing the time easy. Irrigate the lawn in the morning hours. Less water is lost to evaporation when the temperature is cooler, plus in most areas the wind is calm in the early morning hours. Watering in the evenings can lead to turf and plant disease problems because the water sits on the plants all night, especially when it is humid.

  • Install a rain shut-off. When it detects measurable rainfall, it turns off the system.

  • Separate plants into hydro-zones. A hydro-zone is an area where all the plants use more or less the same amount of water and have the same sun and wind exposure. A lawn in shade uses less water than one in a sunny area, and a windy hill top uses more water than one in a sunny area. The irrigation is separated so that each hydro-zone area is watered by a different valve. This allows you to water each hydro-zone individually without over or under watering.

  • Install smart sprinkler heads that water to the exact shape of your lawn. This saves water by eliminating the wasteful overlapping arcs of water that conventional systems use to cover your lawn. Smart sprinkler heads, such as the Genius from IrriGreen, are placed away from curbs and driveways, and are wirelessly programmed by your installer to your lawn’s exact shape.

Published by Community Associations Institute — Minnesota Chapter, copyright 2013. All articles and paid advertising represent the opinions of authors and advertisers and not necessarily the opinion of either Minnesota Community Living or CAI–Minnesota Chapter. The information contained within should not be construed as a recommendation for any course of action regarding financial, legal, accounting, or other professional services by the CAI–Minnesota Chapter, or by Minnesota Community Living, or its authors. Articles, letters to the editor, and advertising may be sent to Monte Abeler at, or at CAI–Minnesota Chapter, 1000 Westgate Dr., Suite 252, St. Paul, MN 55114.

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