Tips for Water Conservation in the Garden
Irrigation and the Environment Tip #1: Zone Defense
By dividing the landscape into watering zones, the watering schedule will not be dictated by the needs of the grass. Garden areas can be watered separately from grass areas, sloped areas separately from flat, sunny separately from shady, and so on. Separating areas that have significantly different watering requirements saves water by allowing the independent scheduling of areas that have vastly different watering requirements. University Sprinklers can design your irrigation system to do just that.
Irrigation and the Environment Tip #2: Plant Selection
Plants should be selected according to the water zones. The use of drought-tolerant and water conserving native plants will increase the water efficiency of an irrigation system. Spacing each plant far enough apart to account for its size at full maturity levels will contribute to optimum water efficiency.
Irrigation and the Environment Tip #3: Water Wisely
Water before 10 a.m., when less wind, lower temperatures and less sunlight reduce water loss from evaporation. Water deep enough to reach the root zone and water less frequently to encourage deep root growth. Check moisture levels regularly. Make sure root zones are saturated: Typically six to 12 inches (15-30 cm) deep for lawns, flowers and vegetables; one to two feet (60 cm) for shrubs and groundcovers; two to three feet (90 cm) for trees. Saturation below the root zone is not effective. Aerate soils, especially clay, once a year to relieve surface compaction and allow for better water penetration.
Irrigation and the Environment Tip #4: Don't Water When it's Raining!
Install a Rain Sensor, which will automatically disable your irrigation system when it's raining. Sometimes, it's the simple solutions that are the most effective! These now come in a wireless model, making their installation options much more varied.
Irrigation and the Environment Tip #5: Sensible Garden Maintenance
Mow regularly but keep lawn grasses long (up to 3 inches or 7.6 cm) to better shade the ground and conserve water. Mulch plants, bushes and trees to retain soil moisture, discourage weeds, provide nutrients and prevent soil compaction. Fertilize twice yearly, once in spring with a slow-release nitrogen and in the fall with a quick-release.
Irrigation and the Environment Tip #6: Consider Drip Irrigation
Drip irrigation, also called micro-irrigation or Xerigation™, uses tubing and emitters to apply a slow, steady trickle of water directly to the soil above the plant’s root structure. Through gravity and capillary action, water spreads slowly down to plant roots, reducing water lost to surface evaporation. Drip can often be a more efficient way to water trees, shrubs, flower beds, ground cover or borders. A drip system can be 30% to 50% more efficient than traditional sprinkler irrigation on landscapes for which drip is appropriate. Drip can also reduce runoff and plant disease, which can result from over-watering.
With educated irrigation practices, you can significantly reduce the amount of water it takes to keep your lawns and gardens vibrant and healthy through the hot summer months. Read on for details on watering restrictions, the Metro Vancouver's water conservation website, and Rain Bird's Intelligent Use of Water website.
The Greater Vancouver Regional District reinforces this conservation through their watering restrictions schedule, which starts June 1st. These regulations keep the rate of water consumption evenly distributed throughout the summer in the GVRD, lowering the risk of reservoir levels being depleted too quickly.
Did you know ... Watering your lawn for one hour uses about as much water as...5 dishwasher loads, 5 loads of laundry AND 25 flushes of the toilet (1500 litres in total).
Do your part, and follow the schedule:
Special permits are available that allow more frequent watering of newly planted lawns. Contact your local municipality for more information.
The watering of vegetable and flower gardens is not affected by these regulations. You may water your garden as often as needed, but please consider using a watering can or a hose with a spring-loaded shut-off nozzle to reduce water waste. Better yet, ask your University Sprinklers certified irrigation designer about gardenseparation and drip systems, and never water by hand again!
Rain Bird Irrigation Products, one of our top suppliers, is a leading innovator in the field of water conservation in the field of irrigation. Their website is an excellent resource, and lends great insight into the technologies we are embracing as a planet focused on conserving our resources. Be sure to visit their Intelligent Use of Water site. Be sure to visit Rain Bird's Intelligent Use of Water Film Competition website too, for some great videos on water conservation ideas! You can even enter a contest and win a trip to Los Angeles!
University Sprinkler Systems Inc.