Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Landscape and Turf - Proper Irrigation

With the hot, dry weather, irrigation systems are being used in landscapes throughout the state. The following is an article on factors to consider to reduce water waste and irrigate plants properly.

Improper irrigation can lead to wasted water and potential plant problems with over or under watering. Take time to inspect irrigation systems for broken heads, leaks, clogged drip emitters, obstructed sprinklers, and sprinklers that are malfunctioning. Make sure that sprinklers in turf areas have head to head coverage/proper overlaps. Replace or repair malfunctioning sprinklers with the same types that have the same application characteristics. Don’t put different types of sprinklers in the same zone. Operate at the pressure levels sprinklers or emitters were designed for. Excessive pressure will cause misapplication and potential water waste due to misting or pressure induced leaks; low pressure will lead to poor coverage. Avoid daily watering. Water 1 to 3 times a week to wet the root zone thoroughly but without drainage loss. Cut grass on the high side and maintain mulch layers to reduce surface evaporation losses. Do not water in the middle of the day – night and early morning applications will conserve water. Avoid overspray onto impervious surfaces such as sidewalks or roads and onto areas without plants such as fence lines and pathways as this wastes water. Use a soil probe to check irrigation depth and alter irrigation timings if too shallow or deep. Avoid over-irrigation of landscape beds with overspray from turf areas - landscape beds should be irrigated separately.

Gordon Johnson, Extension Horticulture Agent, UD, Kent County

No comments: