Conserving Water Outdoors - Texas Water Board


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Conserving Water Outdoors - Texas Water Board

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Conserving Water Outdoors - Texas Water Board

  1. 1. WATER-WISE IRRIGATION Repair or replace broken heads, valves, seals, and CONSERVINGEQUIPMENT pipes. Once a month, run the sprinklers for a short time on each cycle while you are at home to make WATERWhat is the most efficient irrigation systemfor nonturf areas? sure they are working properly. OUTDOORSDrip irrigation. It is the most efficient method of What features should I look for in anwatering bedded plants, trees, or shrubs. Soaker automatic sprinkler system?hosesareaneasyandinexpensivealternativetodrip Optionsthatwillhelpyousavewater.Thecontrollerirrigation. ofnewsprinklersystemsshouldhavethesefeatures: n a multiple scheduling optionWhat type of sprinkler should I use for www.twdb.state.tx.usthe lawn? n a rain shut-off deviceOne that produces large drops of water close to the P.O. Box 13231 n a water budget feature (which allows percentageground.Don’tuseasprinklerthatproducesamistor Austin, Texas 78711-3231 adjustments without having to reprogram)fine spray. Use a timer so you don’t forget to turn the n test functionssprinkler off.How should I manage my automatic sprinklersystem for water efficiency?Adjust the settings as needed. Don’t just set it in thespringandleaveitonallseason.Automaticsprinklersystems provide an efficient method of wateringlawns. Their controllers use timers to turn off thesystem when a measured amount of water is used,andrainshut-offdevicespreventwateringintherain. www.wateriq.orgNotallplantshavethesamewateringrequirements.Reduce the run time of sprinklers on shrubs, which Visit the following Web sitemay not need as much water as grass. Shady areas for additional information.may not need as much water either. Contact aprofessional landscape irrigation specialist for a check. IN THE SUMMER, outdoor water use can account for 50 to 80 percent of home water use.What maintenance is required for myautomatic sprinkler system? TexansmustusetheirpreciouswaterresourcesmoreCheck sprinkler heads regularly. Remove dirt or efficiently, or we will have longer, more frequentdebris that may be clogging the nozzle and make watershortages,especiallyduringdroughtsandhotsure the heads are working at the proper pressure Texas summers. Much of the water used outdoorsand not leaking. is wasted through inefficient landscape watering practices.Byreducingtheamountofwaterwewaste, we will save money and protect the quality of life of rev. 04/10 future Texans. Printed on recycled-content paper
  2. 2. WATER-WISE What should I water? n Place mulch directly on the soil or weed barrier n Turn off decorative fountains on windy days andCONSERVATION STEPS Only your plants. Don’t water the sidewalks and fabricthatcan“breathe.”Avoidusingsheetplastic during drought. driveways. Use a broom to sweep debris away. in planting areas.ManyTexaswaterutilitieschargehigherratesduringthesummerorincreaseratesinincrementsbasedon How can I use rainwater? n Applya thin layer of compost to the lawn. It DESIGN A WATER-WISEuse.Reducingyouroutdoorwaterusebyfollowing Harvest it. Funnel the water from your gutters functions like mulch, increases organic content, LANDSCAPEthesestepscanproducesubstantialsavingsinyour into a barrel or cistern and save it for a sunny day. and protects grass roots. Plant water-efficient, well-adapted, and/or nativewater bill: Rainwater is free and better for your plants because shrubs and trees. Bermuda, buffalo, and zoysian Determinehowmuchwateryourlandscapeneeds it doesn’t contain hard minerals. What should I know about fertilizing? are drought-tolerant grasses. Choose plants that to stay healthy. Apply fertilizer in the spring and fall. It helps are drought tolerant (or at least have low water developgoodrootsystemstokeepyourgrassmore requirements)andheattolerantandcansurvivethen Use water-efficient landscape practices, such WATER-WISE LANDSCAPE drought tolerant. minimum winter temperatures in your local area. as proper mowing, mulching, and moderate MAINTENANCE Don’toverfertilizebecauseitcanrunoffandpollute Nativeplantsarealsomoreresistanttodiseasesand fertilizing. pests. When should I mow? local waterways. Too much fertilizer will alson Design a water-efficient landscape by planting Only when the grass is dry. And don’t cut more than increase the grass’s need for water. Contact your one-thirdofitslengthatonetime.Tallergrassholds Putdrought-tolerantgroundcoverinsteadofgrassin drought-tolerantgrassandchoosingplantsthatare County AgriLife Extension Service or local nursery moisturebetter,encouragesdeeperrootgrowth,and areasthatarenarrow,small,sloping,odd-shaped,or nativeorwelladaptedtotheclimateconditionsin professional for a soil kit and recommendations for is less susceptible to browning. Keep grass 3 inches closetopavement.Limitturfareastothoseneeded your area. fertilizer. tallduringthesummer(tallerthan3inchesstresses for practical uses. the grass). How else can I improve my landscape? Contact your County AgriLife Extension Agent,WATER-WISE LANDSCAPE Improve the soil. If the soil is rocky, sandy, shallow, your water-wise landscape professional, or yourHow often should I water? What should I do with my grass clippings? heavy clay, or has little organic matter, it can be city or water supplier for recommendations ofOnly when needed. One inch of water once a week Mulch or compost them. Grass clippings break improved by adding several inches of high quality water-efficientplantsthatareadaptedtoyourareashould be sufficient to keep most Texas lawns down quickly and provide valuable nutrients. loam soil and 2 to 3 inches of organic matter such as of the state and additional information on efficienthealthy. mulch or compost. landscape water use. How can I conserve soil moisture?Properwateringwillhelpgrassandshrubsdevelop Use lots of mulch. It will make your shrubs and High quality soil helps reduce irrigation needs bydeep roots (it is especially important to start this young trees more tolerant to the scorching Texas retainingwaterbetterwhenaddedtosandyandclayduring the spring when root growth is at its peak). heat. soils. Unless the soil is damaged or depleted, nativeOver-wateredturfwillhaveashortrootsystemand andwell-adaptedplantsmaynotrequireimported n 1 to 3 inches of mulchwill not be drought tolerant. By slowly adjusting to soil. Aerate the lawn once a year. Weed the lawn • retains moisturesuccessivelylongerperiodsbetweenwaterings,the andgardenasneeded.Weedsrobplantsofvaluableturf can grow deeper roots and become drought • reduces runoff water.tolerant. • helps moderate soil temperatures • aids in root development How else can I minimize water use?What time of day should I water? • reduces erosion Don’t forget your pools, spas, and fountains.Early morning or late evening during hot summer • slows weed growth n Cover pools and spas when not in use to lessenmonths.Otherwise,thewatercansimplyevaporate • prevents soil compactionbetween the sprinkler and grass. • makes your landscape beautiful evaporation. n Backwash your filter only as necessary.