Let's face it, irrigation can be confusing. Add these hot summer days, and it being a low-water year and you want to make sure you are doing it right and not wasting water. Here are the latest questions we've gotten about irrigation supply products from our customers.
1. "How much water do I put on my plants?"
This is probably the most common question we get this time of year. Because of the many types of plants and different watering needs, the answer to the question is...it depends.
Some things to consider when determining a watering schedule for your plants:
- What type of plant? Is it a succulent? Tropical?
- How large is the plant? Did it come in a 3-5 gallon-sized pot?
- Is it newly planted, or is it established?
As a rule of thumb, if you have a 3-5 gallon newly planted shrub you will require 3-5 gallons of water per week. If you have a one gallon plant, you need one gallon once per week and so on. (Note, this is total gallons needed per week- it can be given at two separate waterings but it is the net total amount).
If you have a low water plant, then the water requirements will be less once your plant is established. If you are dealing with a tropicals you will likely need more water. The watering amount is influenced by how established your plant is. Did you plant it within the last two years? Then it is still fairly new and will need more frequent water. If it has been around three years or more, and is healthy, it will need less. It's also important to think about soil type...but that would take a complete blog article to explain about soil type and textures. Read our Watering 101 Guide for more information.
If drip irrigation is your route make sure to have the correct emitters. The emitters are the tiny spouts on the end of the spaghetti tubes that release the water to the plant. If you have the textbook plant as mentioned above, for example, then you could simply use a three, four or five gallon per hour (GPH) emitter one time per week, for one hour, and done! A common mistake homeowners make is getting too low of flow on an emitter and running it for too short of time. If you have a three- gallon shrub, and run your 1 GPH emitter for five minutes, one time a week, it is not enough water. To equal three gallons a week, you'd have to run that 1 GPH emitter for one hour, three times per week. If all this talk of GPH is confusing, we can help- just stop by one of our stores today.
2. "What's the best way to water while I'm gone on vacation this summer? Is there an inexpensive, easy to use product?"
The answer is a resounding yes! There are lots of nifty hose-end timer solutions at reasonable prices that allow you to water your plants automatically even when you are away on vacation. No more coming home from vacation to a bed full of dead plants. Basically, all you need is a hose bib and you can setup a simple automatic irrigation system for around $30. One of our popular models of hose-end timers is by DIG Corp. DIG's hose end timers offer the most convenient way to automate your drip irrigation or sprinkler system. DIG's battery timers offer programming flexibility for a wide range of uses. They operate using a single 9-volt battery with a life up to one year and require no wiring
DIG Hose-End Timer Product Features:
1. Flexible programming options.
2. Despite all the options it is simple to use.
3. It works on one 9-volt battery, and one can use rechargeable 9-volt batteries.
5. The timer is well built and long lasting.
6. A wide flow range typically from .1 to 6.3 gallons per minute.
7. These timers can be used in a wide range of applications, including drip irrigation or micro sprinkler systems connected to a garden hose or faucet/spigot.
3. "How do I know when I need to water my lawn?"
Most lawns need to be watered when the top two inches of soil is dry. You can use a simple soil probe to take a sample of the soil to see how far water drained, and if the top two inches are dry. (see photo).
4. "What time of day is best to water my lawn and how frequently?"
We recommend watering early in the morning when evaporation and wind are minimal. Avoid watering at night because it can lead to lawn diseases. Deep, and infrequent waterings are preferred to watering everyday. This rule applies to most plants.
5. "How should I prioritize my watering during this drought?"
Think of preserving the foundation plants in your yard. What is a foundation plant? Another way to describe a foundation plant is that they are the bones, or structure of the landscape design. This would consist of trees and shrubs that are established in your yard and help frame your home. These are important plants that add value to your home and take many years to establish and grow to maturity. Please don't ignore these plants during this low-water year! Consider putting these plants on a drip system so you can save water and keep them well watered even when you are on vacation.
6. "Does Green Acres provide irrigation education?"
As a matter of fact, we do. It's always free and it's this Saturday, April 18th & 25th at all Green Acres locations. Come on by for some free coffee and help on how to get the most out of your irrigation clocks. .
Want more information on watering?