As temperatures rise in the spring, the grass and shrubs will be waking from their winter “hibernation” and beginning to grow again. Your yard will once again become thirsty, and that means watering.
Did you know that during the summer months 50% – 80% of our water consumption is used outside, according to the TWBD, and as much as half of that may be wasted? With the rising cost of water, it benefits all of us to make a more conscious effort to conserve water. So, as we move through spring and begin to prepare ourselves and our lawns for summer let’s take a few minutes to think about how you can do your part to conserve water. Since your irrigation system is probably your biggest summertime user of water, let’s take a look at recommended ways to properly water your yard.
Studies done by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agency show that over 50% of landscape water is wasted due to overwatering, inefficient watering practices and broken or poorly maintained irrigation systems. We can do our part to avoid this wasted water, and the unexpected high water bills that often result, by ensuring our irrigation system is up and running properly. Let’s look at what that means.
As you turn your irrigation system back on after winter, it’s important to test it to make sure all components are in good working condition:
- All sprinkler heads in the system should be examined to ensure they aren’t damaged or clogged with debris
- The spray heads should be checked and adjusted so that you aren’t watering streets, sidewalks and driveways. You should also make sure that your spray pattern is properly set for the area you intend to water.
Once your system is pressurized it becomes easier to check for leaks in the piping. While the system is running or shortly afterward, look for unusually wet spots in the lawn to check for leaky pipes. It’s best to physically check each valve one at a time.
Once you have the valves and spray heads of your system in good working order, let’s move to the controller, the box that is responsible for telling the rest of the system what to do. First and foremost, change out the backup battery so you won’t spend a lot of time entering all the settings only to have all that work lost the next time there is a power outage. Make sure the clock is set to the proper time. Make sure the rain sensor is active and the seasonal adjust is properly set for the time of year.
Now it’s time to check and set all of the start and run times for your zones. There’s generally no need to use your irrigation system more than once or twice a week—only more often if there are extended periods of no rainfall. Consider setting your controller to complete your watering by 4:30 am—well before water demand is at its peak.