How to Water
Proper irrigation reduces water usage, aids in erosion control and lessens energy consumption while adding to aesthetics and environmental quality.
- Water in the early morning or late evening to maximize absorption and minimize evaporation.
- Water only when wind is less than 10 miles per hour.
- Peak water demand occurs with summer temperatures and plant demand is much lower in the spring and fall seasons.
- Be sure irrigation system is balanced, especially in turf areas. A balanced or matched system provides the same precipitation rate whether using a quarter inch circle pop-up spray head or a full circle rotor type sprinkler. There is an old adage that everyone waters to take care of the dry spot. If the system is in balance no dry spots appear and the balance, of the turf is not over-watered.
- Use evapotranspiration data to help determine the plant’s water needs. N.C. State University’s website “Turfgrass Irrigation Management System,” provides information about ET demand and the irrigation requirements of N.C. turfgrasses.
- Measure the amount of rainfall at various locations throughout the facility. Maintain a record of this rainfall and adjust the operating time of the irrigation system to replace the ET minus the weekly rainfall. This is sometimes called the “checkbook” method.
- Alternatively, use tensiometers which measure soil moisture; set the controller to replace the water needed to bring the tensiometer gauge to “moist.”
- Water once or twice a week using an automatic sprinkler system. Drip irrigation requires more frequent longer duration runs.
- Note any areas where the sprinklers are over-spraying buildings, sidewalks or pavement and adjust the spray pattern to avoid watering hardscape areas.