Water Conservation Tips
In light of really dry conditions in many parts of Texas and impending hot weather, we thought these tips might prove useful.
• First, establish priorities, that is, which plants matter the most. Which plants are the most difficult/most expensive/slowest to replace? It takes $10 and 30 minutes to replace annual flowers. It takes years and lots of hard work to re-establish groundcovers and shrubs, let alone shade trees.
• Let the hose run slowly in several positions around established trees and shrubs, or, when possible, pull a ring of soil up as a berm, then to fill the berm with water and let it soak into deeply the ground.
• Hand-water new plants, even if you have to do so more than once per week. Your sprinkler system alone will not be enough to keep them going. Most water curtailments make provision for new plantings to help you protect your investments.
• Get rid of the weeds. You don’t want them anyway, they’re absolute water hogs. Use herbicides and cultivation to eliminate them, then mulch your beds to keep them from coming back.
• Use special tools. Water breakers attached to long-handled water wands are great for those times you have to do touch-up hand-watering of new plants between normal irrigation. To slow the flow of water even more, buy a water bubbler. Again, it goes on the end of hose and it will be unbelievably effective.
• Run a sprinkler system audit. This year, more than ever, make sure all of your automatic system’s heads are aligned and functioning properly. Trim away new growth, or insert extenders to raise heads.
• Install a "smart" controller that monitors weather, soil types, plants being grown and other considerations to determine when an automatic sprinkler system will run.
• Most cities with any restrictions begin by requiring evening, night and early morning watering. If you don’t have a smart controller, run the automatic system out of the "Manual" mode so that you will determine when it runs. Wait until your plants are dry. Never set a sprinkler system to run "every two days," "every three days" or on any other regular interval. Things change and conditions vary.
• Buy a hose-end sprinkler or two. Even if you have the world’s finest automatic sprinkler system, there are times you can touch up a dry area more affordably simply by running a lawn sprinkler there.