We all want to have lush lawns and healthy gardens. Still, it can seem like the amount of water it takes to do so can lead to really high water bills. In reality, there are actually some very simple things you can do to ensure your lawn and garden get enough water, while making sure you are not being wasteful. To help you be as efficient as possible with watering, we have compiled a list of 10 helpful tips.
Yes, we realize this sounds like a no-brainer. Still, the single biggest waste of water is because of over-watering. In addition to wasting water, too much water is not good for your grass and plants. Problems like root rot, bacterial diseases, and the like are often a result of stressed root systems that come from too much watering. If you are unsure about just how much water is too much (or not enough), contact your local landscaping professional for help setting up a watering schedule.
Don’t Mow Too Low
We know; you cut it low so that you don’t have to cut it as often. Still, cutting it to about two inches helps deliver shade for the soil and prevent water evaporation that happens much faster when you cut lower.
Soil, Not Leaves
There are two great reason to water the soil, rather than the leaves. The first is because it reduces water evaporation. The second is because excess water on the leaves can contribute to fungal diseases. If you have the budget, a professionally-designed and installed irrigation system is a much better option than $10 lawn sprinklers. Consider it an investment that pays you back in lower water bills and a healthier lawn and garden.
Keeping the root zone cool helps to reduce evaporation and retain moisture. A good, thick layer of organic mulch is a great way to achieve that. When using mulches made from wood chips, shredded bark or some other organic material, you also get the benefit of that mulch adding organic matter to the soil as it breaks down over time. That said, different mulches are better for different applications, so do your homework before you buy.
Choose the Right Plants
Some plants simply require less water. These “drought-tolerant” plants, by their very nature, can help keep water usage lower. Some popular drought-tolerant plants include sage, yarrow, yucca, and white fir.
Why pay for what Mother Nature will give you for free? Not only does using rain water save you money, the water itself is often better for plants, because it is free from the treatment chemicals that are used in most city water treatment facilities.
Check for Leaks
Hold on to your hat for a staggering statistic. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that just one leak measuring 1/32-inch in diameter, whether it be on an outdoor faucet, emitter or hose, can lead to a yearly water waste of 6,000 gallons! That’s just one leak. What if you have more?
It’s these very outdoor leaks that are most prone to water waste, because they tend to go unnoticed. If you are working with a reputable landscape company, however, they will check for leaks at each visit so you don’t have to worry about it. If you are caring for your lawn yourself, you’ll want to make sure you check for leaks once a week; it doesn’t take long for an unnoticed leak to run up the water bill.
Consider Water-Efficient Emitters
If you are using a sprinkler system and haven’t checked out the advances in water emitter technology in the last decade, you might be surprised at how good it has gotten. From sprinkler heads, to rotors, to drip irrigation emitters, do yourself a favor and research the specs on new ones. Even if it has only been a couple of years since you last looked. The technology advances quickly.
If you are using an irrigation system, an investment in a smart controller can improve your overall water efficiency by as much as 40%. It does so by working in coordination with the weather. This option really depends upon your water bill, as a smart controller can run anywhere from about $300 all the way up to several grand. So, you’ll certainly want to weigh your potential return on investment before you take the plunge.
Automatic Rain Shutoff Device
Another option for those using an irrigation system is an automatic rain shutoff device. It works as the name implies; it tells the irrigation system controller to shut off after a defined amount of rain has fallen. It saves you money and prevents over-watering. It’s also much more affordable than a smart controller. If you opt for an automatic rain shutoff device, you can usually get one installed (including labor) for about $200. Depending upon the size of the area you need to water and how heavy the rainfall is, you might be able to save that much on your water bill in year one!
Some of these solutions you can implement right away and some may need to wait for future seasons. In the meantime, trust E.P.M. of Michigan for your next landscaping project. For more about our whole list of professional landscaping services, contact us today or give us a call at (517) 990-0110.