Roberta Tolan Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Larimer County
Make Small Changes  for Big Water Savings 10 Tips
#1   Evaluate   Your Expectations
Expectation? High expectation =  High water use Low expectation = Low water use
#2  Change irrigation controller for the season
Cool season turf* April May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Per week 0.50” .75” 1.25” 1.50” 1.38” .88” 0.38” *Figures from Color...
Base irrigation scheduling on July water requirements Cool season turf* April May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Per week 0.50”...
Get to Know Your Irrigation Controller
#3 Determine Precipitation Rate for Each Zone
Calculate Precipitation Rate Step 1  -- Place  6  identical, straight sided, flat bottom cans randomly between sprinklers ...
Calculate Precipitation Rate Step 2  -- Run sprinklers  exactly  10  minutes
Calculate Precipitation Rate Step 3  -- Pour all the water into one can Step 4  -- Measure depth of water in can This is t...
Calculate Precipitation Rate Note: If the amount of water in some  containers is significantly more or less than others, i...
Converting Inches to Minutes Formula Water to apply  (inches) Run time =  -------------------------------  X  60 minutes/h...
Converting Inches to Minutes Formula Water to apply  (inches) Run time =  -------------------------------  X  60 minutes/h...
Converting Inches to Minutes Formula Water to apply  (inches) Run time =  -------------------------------  X  60 minutes/h...
 
Converting Inches to Minutes Zone PR Amount Run Time 1 1 1/2”/hr 0.5” 2 2”/hr 1.2” 3 1/2”/hr 1.0” Adjust run times to matc...
Fixed Day Watering Schedule <ul><ul><li>Water on Monday and Thursday nights </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Last watered Thursd...
Fixed Day Watering Schedule <ul><ul><li>With a precipitation rate of 1.5 inches/hour </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It takes  ...
#4 Try Applying Water at 80% of ET
#5 Turn Off Sprinklers in Rainy Weather
<ul><ul><li>Rain shut-off sensor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Required by law in  many parts of the  country.  Not yet i...
#6 Soak & Cycle Slopes & Compacted Areas
Most compacted/clayey soils can’t absorb water as quickly as sprinklers apply it. Typical Front Range clayey  soils = 1/4”...
#7 Hand Water Dry Spots
#8 Maintain With Good Horticultural Practices
Maintaining Landscapes in a Drought -Web Sites <ul><li>www.drought.colostate.edu </li></ul><ul><li>http://csuturf.colostat...
#9 Let the Plants Tell You When to Water
Turf Leaves gray/ blue to brown and wilted.
Turf <ul><li>Footprints more visible due to drought. </li></ul>
#10 Mulch, Mulch, Mulch
Benefits of Mulch <ul><li>Reduces evaporation cutting water use by 25-50% </li></ul><ul><li>Promotes soil microorganisms <...
Mulching to Reduce Evaporation Mulch  Soil Amendment Applied on surface Mixed into soil
Organic Mulch <ul><ul><li>Primary selection based on desired appearance and cost .   </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wood chips...
Mulch Application <ul><li>Depth   </li></ul><ul><li>3” to 4” standard </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Best weed control </li></u...
Mulch Application <ul><li>Around trees </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Great around trees, protecting from “lawn mower blight” </li>...
Mulch Application <ul><li>Chips over landscape fabric </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Standard procedure on commercial installations...
Mulch Application <ul><li>Chips blow in windy areas </li></ul><ul><li>Shredded type chips more wind resistant </li></ul><u...
Rock Mulch  <ul><li>Heat sink </li></ul><ul><li>Raising temperatures (summer “people space”  issue)  </li></ul><ul><li>Inc...
Mulch and Black Plastic <ul><ul><li>NEVER use rock over  black plastic  in plant beds  (soil water and oxygen issue) </li>...
Tips for Big Water Savings <ul><li>Evaluate your expectation </li></ul><ul><li>Change irrigation controller for the season...
Tips for Big Water Savings <ul><li>Soak & cycle slopes & compacted areas </li></ul><ul><li>Hand water dry spots </li></ul>...
 
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10%20 Tips%20for%20 Water%20 Savings[1]

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10%20 Tips%20for%20 Water%20 Savings[1]

  1. 1. Roberta Tolan Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Larimer County
  2. 2. Make Small Changes for Big Water Savings 10 Tips
  3. 3. #1 Evaluate Your Expectations
  4. 4. Expectation? High expectation = High water use Low expectation = Low water use
  5. 5. #2 Change irrigation controller for the season
  6. 6. Cool season turf* April May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Per week 0.50” .75” 1.25” 1.50” 1.38” .88” 0.38” *Figures from Colorado Springs Utilities. Typical Turfgrass Water Requirements in Inches of Water per Week
  7. 7. Base irrigation scheduling on July water requirements Cool season turf* April May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Per week 0.50” .75” 1.25” 1.50” 1.38” .88” 0.38” % July 33% 50% 83% 100% 92% 59% 25% *Figures from Colorado Springs Utilities.
  8. 8. Get to Know Your Irrigation Controller
  9. 9. #3 Determine Precipitation Rate for Each Zone
  10. 10. Calculate Precipitation Rate Step 1 -- Place 6 identical, straight sided, flat bottom cans randomly between sprinklers in zone. Do not use short cans like tuna, water may splash out.
  11. 11. Calculate Precipitation Rate Step 2 -- Run sprinklers exactly 10 minutes
  12. 12. Calculate Precipitation Rate Step 3 -- Pour all the water into one can Step 4 -- Measure depth of water in can This is the precipitation rate in inches per hour
  13. 13. Calculate Precipitation Rate Note: If the amount of water in some containers is significantly more or less than others, it indicates that the system is poorly designed or heads are malfunctioning.
  14. 14. Converting Inches to Minutes Formula Water to apply (inches) Run time = ------------------------------- X 60 minutes/hour PR (inches/hours)
  15. 15. Converting Inches to Minutes Formula Water to apply (inches) Run time = ------------------------------- X 60 minutes/hour PR (inches/hours) 0.5 inches Run time = -------------------------------- X 60 minutes/hour 1 1/2 inches/hour
  16. 16. Converting Inches to Minutes Formula Water to apply (inches) Run time = ------------------------------- X 60 minutes/hour PR (inches/hours) 0.5 inches Run time = -------------------------------- X 60 minutes/hour 1 1/2 inches/hour = 20 minutes
  17. 18. Converting Inches to Minutes Zone PR Amount Run Time 1 1 1/2”/hr 0.5” 2 2”/hr 1.2” 3 1/2”/hr 1.0” Adjust run times to match water needs of each zone 20 min 36 min 120 min
  18. 19. Fixed Day Watering Schedule <ul><ul><li>Water on Monday and Thursday nights </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Last watered Thursday night </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Friday 0.18” ET </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Saturday 0.21” ET </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sunday 0.19” ET </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Monday 0.16” ET </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Total 0.74 inches used </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Minus rain -0.12” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Net water to apply 0.62” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 20. Fixed Day Watering Schedule <ul><ul><li>With a precipitation rate of 1.5 inches/hour </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It takes 24 minutes to apply 0.6 inches </li></ul></ul>
  20. 21. #4 Try Applying Water at 80% of ET
  21. 22. #5 Turn Off Sprinklers in Rainy Weather
  22. 23. <ul><ul><li>Rain shut-off sensor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Required by law in many parts of the country. Not yet in Colorado. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manually </li></ul></ul>
  23. 24. #6 Soak & Cycle Slopes & Compacted Areas
  24. 25. Most compacted/clayey soils can’t absorb water as quickly as sprinklers apply it. Typical Front Range clayey soils = 1/4” per hour. If applying more than 1/4 inch: Use multiple short runs an hour apart Soak and Cycle?
  25. 26. #7 Hand Water Dry Spots
  26. 27. #8 Maintain With Good Horticultural Practices
  27. 28. Maintaining Landscapes in a Drought -Web Sites <ul><li>www.drought.colostate.edu </li></ul><ul><li>http://csuturf.colostate.edu/drought.html </li></ul><ul><li>www.watersaver.org (tree watering) </li></ul><ul><li>http://et.csu.org/csu/et.jsp (Colorado Springs Utility </li></ul><ul><li>www.water.denver.co.gov </li></ul><ul><li>www.ncwcd.org (Northern Co. Water Conservancy District) </li></ul>
  28. 29. #9 Let the Plants Tell You When to Water
  29. 30. Turf Leaves gray/ blue to brown and wilted.
  30. 31. Turf <ul><li>Footprints more visible due to drought. </li></ul>
  31. 32. #10 Mulch, Mulch, Mulch
  32. 33. Benefits of Mulch <ul><li>Reduces evaporation cutting water use by 25-50% </li></ul><ul><li>Promotes soil microorganisms </li></ul><ul><li>Stabilizes soil moisture </li></ul><ul><li>Prevents soil compaction </li></ul><ul><li>Controls weeds </li></ul><ul><li>Moderates soil temperatures </li></ul><ul><li>Controls erosion </li></ul><ul><li>Gives a finished look </li></ul>
  33. 34. Mulching to Reduce Evaporation Mulch Soil Amendment Applied on surface Mixed into soil
  34. 35. Organic Mulch <ul><ul><li>Primary selection based on desired appearance and cost . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wood chips decompose faster, enriching the soil. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bark chips decompose slower, requiring less frequent replenishment. </li></ul></ul>
  35. 36. Mulch Application <ul><li>Depth </li></ul><ul><li>3” to 4” standard </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Best weed control </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Eliminates compaction forces of foot traffic </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1-2” for poorly drained soils </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>On compacted/clayey soils with poor drainage, 3-4” may </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>reduce water evaporation so much that susceptible plants </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>develop root rot on wet years and under frequent irrigation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>>4” -- may reduce soil oxygen levels </li></ul></ul>
  36. 37. Mulch Application <ul><li>Around trees </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Great around trees, protecting from “lawn mower blight” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do NOT make “mulch volcanoes” -- Keep mulch back about 6” from trunk </li></ul></ul>
  37. 38. Mulch Application <ul><li>Chips over landscape fabric </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Standard procedure on commercial installations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Greater soil improvement without fabric </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weed seeds that germinate above the fabric are difficult to pull. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Chips over newspapers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Layers of newspaper block out light, preventing weed seed germination . </li></ul></ul>
  38. 39. Mulch Application <ul><li>Chips blow in windy areas </li></ul><ul><li>Shredded type chips more wind resistant </li></ul><ul><li>Generally not suited for windy areas. </li></ul><ul><li>Chips float </li></ul><ul><li>Not suited for area with standing water. </li></ul>
  39. 40. Rock Mulch <ul><li>Heat sink </li></ul><ul><li>Raising temperatures (summer “people space” issue) </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing irrigation requirements </li></ul>
  40. 41. Mulch and Black Plastic <ul><ul><li>NEVER use rock over black plastic in plant beds (soil water and oxygen issue) </li></ul></ul>
  41. 42. Tips for Big Water Savings <ul><li>Evaluate your expectation </li></ul><ul><li>Change irrigation controller for the season </li></ul><ul><li>Determine precipitation rate for each zone </li></ul><ul><li>Try applying water at 80% ET </li></ul><ul><li>Turn off sprinklers in rainy weather </li></ul>
  42. 43. Tips for Big Water Savings <ul><li>Soak & cycle slopes & compacted areas </li></ul><ul><li>Hand water dry spots </li></ul><ul><li>Use good maintenance practices </li></ul><ul><li>Let the plants tell you when to water </li></ul><ul><li>Mulch, mulch, mulch </li></ul>

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