Well, are we out of the drought?
Are we going to still focus on water conservation?
The truth is: ‘THEY’ are going to charge us more money for the water we use, WHAT EVER WE DO!
Here are some steps we implemented at our place and it saved us 27-35% in water consumption per month. Our lawns, flower beds and trees are thriving, even in the 100 + degree summer weather and we remain in compliance with all the 2014 drought regulations.
Step #1: make a decision, commit to a course of action. Do I like my landscaping or not?
Step #2: What kind, California lawn, trees and plants or Arizona cactus with rock and gravel?
If you choose or chose Arizona rock and gravel/bark with no lawn, trees or shrubs – that’s as drought friendly as you can go and still have landscaping. For most of us in the area, we already have the California look - lawn, trees, plants, flowers and maybe a little garden area.
Assuming that we will be either on a 2 or 3 day lawn watering rotation per week, here are some of the tips on how we got more results with less water.
Get a good multi station timer (the Orbits brand is a good one, there are others) with a minimum of 10 stations. Identify your individual water circuits, most homes have 3 lawn circuits in front and 2 in the backyard.
Check your pop up sprinklers, make sure that the grass is not blocking the water spray, you may need to cut away grass (dig them out a little) or raise the pop up head by adding a small riser. Clean them up so they are 100% efficient.
For each day that you are allowed to water your lawn:
Set each circuit for 8-10 minutes, for 2 or 3 times per day early in the morning with at least a 45 minute break in between. The short watering times (8 – 10 minutes) with at least a 45 minute pause in between allows the water to seep into the roots, reducing run off and maximizing the effectiveness of the water used. The early morning watering times provides the lawns with a deep root quenching to start the hot, dry days ahead.
Circuit 1. Front Lawn. 1st Start Time 2:00am for 8 minutes 2nd Start Time 2:45am for 8 minutes
Circuit 2. Front Lawn. 1st Start Time 2:30am for 8 minutes 2nd Start Time 3:15am for 8 minutes
If your lawn requires the 3 times per day make the last one 4-5 minutes to avoid water runoff on the sidewalk.
Flower beds, gardens, & trees: DRIP THEM. There are NO daily restrictions on drip.
They make a ‘pop up sprinkler head to drip’ conversion KIT that comes with all the pieces you will need. If you have ridged pipes with spray heads they have KITS that convert each of them to 6 feeder lines. It’s really slick, and means you can start laying out the drip lines without having to dig. Just use your existing spray pop ups and modify them for drip according to the kit’s instructions, choosing as many sprinkler heads as you need to provide a drip line to each of your plants and trees.
To decommission the unnecessary pop-up heads, take a small screw driver and tighten down the screw in the center of the pop up spray head, they will pop up but they won’t spray. For those with ridged pipes, just remove old unused spray heads and cap them with ½” PVC threaded caps.
SPECIAL NOTE: Drip systems work best when you use filters or membranes to keep out the seeds and dirt that is in our clean water. Installing a filter on a drip line circuit at the valve is a great way to protect against plugged up emitters.
Setting the circuit time: We water our plants at night every other day. 30 minutes in duration. Here’s a quick visualization exercise that will help you determine the best emitter size for each plant and the amount of time the water circuit should be on. Get a ½ gallon milk jug and fill it. So, a 1 gallon per hour emitter, on for 30 minutes will fill that milk jug just as you did. Not all the plants need that much water so you can adjust the duration time down or lower the emitter volume, using a ¼ or ½ gallon per hour emitter. Just a little bit of math and you are a professional.
Last item: in my travels around Oakdale I see more home being hit by misdirected or broken spray sprinklers. Sad, the stucco discolors and cracks, the wood trim and siding fade, crack and get dry rot, all of these conditions diminish the look and value of your home and cost you money and time to fix.
As Always, Enjoy Your Castle & Keep It In Great Shape!