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GROW!: Automated irrigation system can minimize water use

Views: 5     Author: David Hillock     Publish Time: 2018-07-19      Origin: Site

Oklahoma has experienced some rain lately, but keeping the landscape properly watered still can be a challenge during the summer months. With Smart Irrigation Month being observed in July, now is a great time to talk about investing in an irrigation system.

Using an automated irrigation system is one way to keep your lawn looking good all year, especially in the heat of the summer. It’s also a great way to help minimize water waste. Planning carefully for a reliable, flexible irrigation system that can grow and evolve with your landscaping will help ensure you meet the moisture needs.

Different plants have different watering needs, and as your landscape evolves, these needs will change over time. Make sure your system allows you to apply the right amount of water for each type of plant by the most effective method.

Before you begin, do some research. The best irrigation system on the market won’t perform well if it isn’t installed correctly. Check out different companies in your area, get multiple bids and check references. You will also want to make sure all vendors are insured.

When installing a new system, always keep expansion in mind. Irrigation zones are areas that are watered by the same irrigation valve and plumbing. Including extra connections during the initial installation is easier than adding on later. And, it’s less expensive than trying to expand later down the road. Also, install the lines deep enough to protect them from damage from aeration and other lawn maintenance.

Be sure to include smart controls that automatically adjust watering based on rainfall, soil moisture, evaporation and plant water use. Something else to consider is your water pressure. Low or high pressure can greatly affect sprinkler performance. Choose sprinklers based on the water pressure at your site. Pressure regulation devices are available and should be used to make sure irrigation components are working efficiently.

Obviously, an irrigation system is an investment, but it can add value to your property. When installing a system, buy the best components you can afford. This will help minimize future maintenance and total lifetime cost of the system. Also, make sure your system meets code requirements and include the right backflow prevention device in your area. This is required by the National Plumbing Code for all irrigation systems and prevents irrigation system water from contaminating the water supply.

Finally, check with your local utilities company to see if any rebates are available for certain water-efficient products. In addition to cost saving on water usage, you may be able to put a little extra back in your pocket in the form of a rebate.

Next week I’ll be talking about watering wisely.


David Hillock is a consumer horticulturist with Oklahoma State University cooperative extension.

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