July is Smart Irrigation Month. This is a perfect time to inspect your irrigation system to ensure it is operating efficiently and effectively. Your landscape will thrive without wasting precious water if you take the proper steps. Do this and it will save time, money, and water! Below are some basic guidelines to follow, depending on the type of system in your yard.
Drip systems need to be checked and maintained regularly. A consistent maintenance schedule will identify issues like underground lines that can crack and leak, tubes leading to plants that were cut by tools or simply broke due to age, and emitters that can fall off or get clogged with dirt.
Plants closer to the irrigation valve or at the bottom of the slope may get over-watered. Plants further from the line may be getting too little water, or it runs off too quickly to be absorbed. An inexpensive pack of “pressure compensating emitters” can correct this problem.
As of this writing, May 2022, local stores offer a pack of 30 for $11; another sells a 10 pack for $5.50 and a 50 pack for $17.50.
If sprinkler heads are not properly spaced, over-watering and under-watering can occur. Some systems provide only a single stream of water. A more efficient nozzle will rotate and spread water more evenly.
Prices at various local stores range from a 21-foot adjustable spray head nozzle under $8 to a 14 to 18-foot nozzle at $10.
The City offers a rebate of $75 for a Water-Sense labeled Smart Irrigation Timer. It must be set to the local weather data or soil moisture sensors to limit unnecessary outdoor watering, and it must be approved by the EPA.
Local Big Box stores can offer a 6-zone water-sense controller for $118 and an 8-zone water-sense controller for $180. Another option is a 12-station Wi-Fi compatible water-sense irrigation controller for $125.
Do not purchase a less expensive controller as they are not Water-Sense and won’t qualify.
If you feel a bit overwhelmed by this, you can always seek the help of a landscape or irrigation professional.