- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the typical single-family suburban household uses at least 30 percent of its water for landscape irrigation. Some experts conclude that more than 50 percent of landscape water goes to waste due to evaporation or runoff caused by overwatering.
- Texas irrigators must be licensed by the state through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Working with a licensed irrigator to design, maintain and operate an efficient irrigation system will help you conserve water and save money.
- A sprinkler system is a convenient way to water your landscape. However, if used improperly, it can result in a substantial amount of water waste.
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- Become familiar with your controller and take advantage of its features. Check the manufacturer's website for videos on how to program it correctly.
- Set your irrigation controller so that the system does not activate between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. when most water is lost due to evaporation.
- Avoid overspray — Ensure that your irrigation system only sprays water on landscaped areas, not on concrete, wood, stone, brick or other impervious surfaces such as sidewalks, streets, driveways, fences or walls, which causes water runoff.
- Adjust your watering schedule to the season. Decrease or cease watering when grass should be dormant during cooler weather months.
- Adjust the run time and frequency on the controller, based on changing rainfall and temperatures.
- Program your controller timer to cycle and soak to prevent over watering. (See the Agronomist’s Corner below for how to set for cycle and soak.)
- Check sprinkler heads to remove dirt or debris that may clog nozzle heads. Once a month, run the system on a short cycle and make any needed adjustments or minor repairs.
- Consult a licensed irrigator if the irrigation system requires major repair.
- Install a rain or moisture shutoff device or another technology to prevent the system from operating in the rain or when soil moisture is sufficient.
- Maintain the correct water pressure — your irrigation system should not operate below or above the manufacturer’s published specifications for the equipment being used. High water pressures waste water.
The new Agronomist’s Corner answers commonly asked questions about maintaining a healthy lawn in North Texas.
What is the preferred way to water my lawn so that it stays healthy?
The soil in North Texas is mainly made up of a hard clay. Therefore, it’s important to make sure the water reaches your lawn’s root system. You can use the cycle soak method of watering, which allows the soil to absorb the water you are using on your lawn. You can check out your sprinkler controller box to see if you can program your system to automatically run the cycle soak method. With cycle soak, you run your sprinkler system in a series of shorter cycles instead of one long cycle. So if you already run your sprinkler system for 15 minutes at a time, try three cycles of five minutes each. The cycles should happen about an hour apart until the soil is moistened to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. You should also be sure to watch each sprinkler zone for any water runoff — you definitely don’t want to waste any water.