Sunday, March 27, 2022

The Fourth Principle Of Xeriscape - Efficient Irrigation

 This means watering in ways that are not wasteful.  We are experiencing drought conditions in Utah in 2022.  There will likely be restrictions in landscape water use.  It is more important than ever to be efficient.  We need to get away from the one-size-fits-all, fix-it-and-forget-it landscape watering systems and move towards a more conscious, thoughtful and deliberate approach.  We need to be engaged with the watering of the landscape.  Here are some ideas about watering efficiently:

 - Zones - Group plants with similar needs together and water accordingly.  For example, the turf grass lawn needs water once or twice a week.  The Utah desert native plants need water once every three or four weeks and only during July and August (and some of them need no watering other than what falls out of the sky).  No spring or fall water.  So the turf grass and native plants should not be watered on the same zone.  

 - Seasons - Cut back on spring and fall watering.  Waterwise plants don't need water until sometime in late May or  June.  If there are spring and fall rain cycles, you don't need to be watering during those times.  If your system is automatic, turn it off.  You can run it manually during spring and fall.

- In general, water less often for longer duration.  Deeper watering will create deeper root systems.  This results in plants that can better withstand heat and drought.

- Automatic Sprinkler Systems - Move away from "fix-it-and-forget-it" and adjust the timer for the seasons.  Remember, you should turn it off temporarily if you get a big rain. 

- Measuring Rain - Get a rain gauge and turn off the automatic water for a few days if you get more than a third or a half an inch.  

- Maintenance - Check your irrigation system for blockages, leaks, breaks, fountains and geysers.  Inspect the system closely while it is running every several weeks to catch problems.

- If you are not sure about soil moisture below the surface, dig some holes and have a look.  Watering less often for longer durations will help the roots grow deep, making the plants more water wise.

- Appropriate Watering Methods - Consider other ways of watering instead of in-ground irrigation with a timer.  There is nothing wrong with attaching a sprinkler onto the end of a hose.  You can also attach a soaker hose onto a garden hose and move the soaker around the yard.  You can avoid watering weeds and causing erosion this way.  

Karl Foerster Grass is drought tolerant, perennial and beautiful!

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