Switching it up this week with a few water saving tips that can be applied to your crops and land that make up your field, but also tips that will help your lawn and landscape be more efficient during the watering months. Southern Living outlined 5 helpful tips for landscaping in a blog post earlier this year. At irrigation listing we thought that it would be helpful to apply these tips to the field and the lawn.
The tips very so focus more on the landscape and lawn and some clearly apply to both.
1. Mulch around trees and garden beds : Planting cover crop
Placing mulch around beds and trees provides numerous services in the garden, from managing weeds to controlling soil erosion. When it comes to water, mulch reduces evaporation and works to retain soil moisture. Wood, pine straw, and other plant-based mulches also add organic material to the garden over time, which help improve the water-holding capacity of soils.
Planting a cover crop in your fields during the off season will protect the soil from erosion and will enrich the soil with nutrients. Different types of cover crops can add different benefits to the soils and crops that will be planted.
2. Water Deeply, Not Frequently
Think slow and deep when irrigating. When water is applied too quickly, much is lost to runoff. Irrigating slowly allows water to soak into the ground. Drip irrigation is excellent for this, but lowering the water flow to sprinklers also works. Allow irrigation to run long enough to wet soils to a depth of six inches. Deep irrigation encourages healthier root systems. Watering too often and too shallow encourages shallow root systems that are more susceptible to drought. With the crazy Midwest weather shallow roots system maybe pretty dangerous for the productivity of the crops. Reduce the frequency of watering, allowing soils to dry between watering. Last but not least adjust irrigation according to plant age. Older plants have deeper, more extensive root systems and often require less frequent irrigation.
3. Reduce Run-Off
Run-off from the landscape and fields not only wastes water but can also be a source of pollution to natural waterways, as runoff carries soil particles and chemicals to streams and lakes.
What is run-off? Run-off occurs when water is applied too heavily, either by natural rainfall or irrigation practices. You can reduce run-off by:
- Aligning sprinkler heads to avoid irrigating roads, sidewalks, and driveways.
- Using drip irrigation and other low volume delivery systems to irrigate slowly.
- Building rain gardens to trap water on slopes and harvesting rainwater from downspouts.
- Direct downspouts to empty into the landscape rather than the street or other hard surfaces.
4. Maintain Sprinklers and Irrigation Systems
Everyone knows how much water a leaking toilet can waste. In the landscape and irrigation system, leaky faucets and broken sprinkler heads can also waste huge amounts of water. It is so important to take time to periodically check irrigation equipment and connections can save a lot of money on your water bill. Look for leaks and broken, buried, or jammed sprinkler heads. In many landscape and lawn system a hose connection at the faucet and sprinkler can also leak but are easily repaired.
5. Adding Technology
With the increase in technology in every other industry technology is starting to work its way into the irrigation world as well. If you are using an irrigation system many companies are having customers consider upgrading to a “smart” controller or installing a rain sensor. And the crop and field irrigation systems are even more involved and packed full of technology. Smart water controllers measure weather and soil moisture conditions to automatically adjust watering schedules according to landscape conditions. Rain sensors can be inexpensive and can be retrofitted to most irrigations systems. Adjust irrigation systems for current conditions.