When you hear a dripping faucet, what’s your instinctual reaction? Chances are you have an urge to turn it off – ASAP. Strangely enough, many people don’t act the same way with their lawns. Instead of a few drips, an inefficient irrigation system wastes gallons of water over time. Grass needs water to survive, but too much moisture can do more harm than good. Green lawns start with green lawn care, and green lawn care starts with smart irrigation.
Get a System Going
We’ve spoken about it before, but the type of irrigation system you choose really does matter. Drip systems are the most efficient; as they release water very close to the soil, allowing it to soak without runoff. Traditional sprinklers usually cost less upfront, but the water they emit evaporates more quickly. Rotor systems are nearly as affordable as traditional sprinklers, but offer more control over spray radius and release rate – the more control you have over your system, the greener your lawn will be. We recommend a drip system if you want to save on your water bill and leave a smaller ecological footprint.
Stay on Schedule
The breeze that keeps you cool on a summer day tends to whip the moisture right out of your lawn. If you’re watering at a time when the wind is strongest, the water is going to evaporate faster than the soil can absorb it. It’s a classic case of “water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.” You can avoid this kind of drought by watering at strategic times of the day. Early morning is the ideal time to water – strong winds and high temperatures are less likely, so your grass roots can enjoy more water. It’s also a time of day you (probably) won’t be physically on your lawn, so you don’t have to plan your time outdoors around your sprinkling schedule.
Set Portion Sizes
The amount of water you should give your lawn depends on many factors, including grass type, soil type, location and time of year. Minnesota’s most common type of turf, Kentucky Bluegrass, is relatively hardy and will survive extended periods without water. As a general rule of thumb, 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week is healthy for this species. If you have sandy soil, it will absorb moisture much more quickly than loam or clay soil, so be sure to water it more frequently and in smaller amounts. Luckily, modern irrigation systems allow you to calibrate exactly how much water you want to use per watering session. After a thunderstorm rolls though, you’re going to dial the amounts down a bit.
A healthy lawn and a greener world go hand-in-hand. When you start thinking green, your decisions can improve the health of your lawn and the surrounding environment. The savings you’ll receive on your water bill are just icing on the cake. Make a few small changes and you can make a big difference in the world around us.