No rain and the City of Tulsa is preparing to raise water rates again. What to do to keep your landscape looking great and save water? Proper scheduling can do more save water (which is money) than anything short of rain. Most Automatic Sprinkler systems waste water due to improper scheduling. Studies have shown as much as 40% of the water is wasted.
Here are a few hints to best water your landscape.
Hunter Pro C is our Controller of first choice. This article will apply to all solid state (digital) controllers. If you want to review a video, How to Program a hunter Pro C, click here.
What time of day should I water? Controller Start time
We recommend watering between 2 am-10 am. Don't water in the heat of the day and never water in the evening. The temperature is the lowest in the morning, wind is low, humidity is high, so more water is absorbed by the soil. I water at 5 am in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.
You can do a cool down spray late in the afternoon, but we will talk about that later in this article.
How long running times for zones? Controller Run Times
All sprinkler heads/zones are NOT the same. Therefore, they need different running times. So often I test a sprinkler system and all the zones have the same running times. Here is a sprinkler head/zone recommendation.
Rotary heads - 15-30 minutes
Spray heads - 6-20 minutes
Shrub heads - 5-15 minutes
Drip zones - 15-90 minutes
How many days a week to water?
Don't water every zone, every day. The season of year, temperature, and amount of rain affect your days to water. Best days watering are:
Spring or Fall 2-3 days a week
Summer 3-5 days a week
Winter at least once every 10-14 days (December & January are the driest months)
Try to supplement rainfall. We install a Rainsensor on most projects. If it begins to rain, the sensor will short-term shut the system down immediately. If sufficient rain is recieved, the sensor will suspend watering for 12-48 hours. The sensor then resets to water next scheduled start time .
Bermuda lawns will need less days to water than Fescue lawns. Shrub zones will need more frequncy if they have seaonal color annual flowers. Newly seeded lawns will need more frequency as well.
Cool down Cycles using other programs
One of the best ways to reduce water use and increase plant/lawn health is cool down. Plants like humans can only drink so much water at one time. By watering everyday, most plants are water logged and develop very poor roots.
Using the B program on our home controller, we water the flowers, shrubs, and lawn everyday for 3-5 minutes in the late afternoon. The plant is not really watered but moistened. The water typically evaporates within a few minutes releasing heat. This allows the plant to have the surface temperature reduced by 20-40 degrees. This reduces plant stress and need for water.
Our results has shown our seasonal color annual flowers that are double the size of others. The plants immediately perk up if they are wilting. DO NOT use the regular running times in the regular program. Use B or C program for this feature.
Feel free to comment or ask questions. Great watering to you!