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  1. 5/16/2014 IMPROVING IRRIGATION EFFICIENCY
  2. For many, a lush green lawn is a symbol of proud homeownership as well as a pleasant place on which to relax or play. Lawns, however, require a lot of water--water which, depending where you live, may be in short supply. As we become more aware of our impact on the environment -- and our need for it -- we search for ways to use energy more efficiently and conserve water. Using water efficiently not only saves money, but also helps the environment. Most of us over-water our lawns, so the most important thing that we can do is learn how much water our lawn needs and the best times and methods to deliver the water. Below are tips to help you to determine if your lawn is need of watering and tips to improve your irrigation efficiency:
     
    How to Determine Your Current Soil Moisture Level
     
    ·       The goal of watering lawns is to create deep, drought-resistant roots. In general, grass needs about 3/4 inch to one inch of water per week to maintain its color and growth.
     
    ·       To check the moisture level in your grass, dig a 12-inch-deep wedge of soil from your lawn or garden. Observe the amount of moisture in the sample and water your lawn only if the top six inches of soil are dry.
     
    How to Water Your Lawn Efficiently
     
    ·       Minimize water runoff by watering in fifteen- to thirty-minute sessions every other day rather than in one long, continuous session.
     
    ·       The best time to water your lawn is between 5:00 and 10:00 a.m. In the afternoon, water is lost due to evaporation and wind. Watering at night can promote fungus growth. The second-best time to water is between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m.
     
    ·       Make sure your sprinkler heads are adjusted to water the lawn (in case you switched them to water plants).
     
    ·       Check sprinklers regularly to ensure that they are free of clogs and that there are no holes or tears in the lines.
     
    ·       Spread the water evenly across the lawn. Sprinklers vary in distribution patterns and require spray overlap for uniform coverage. Placing coffee cans or similar straight-sided containers on the lawn will help you measure water application rates. Avoid flooding areas or missing spots. On heavy clay soils and slopes, watch for excessive runoff; it may be necessary to apply the water in several applications to achieve adequate penetration.
     
    ·       Monitor rainfall. Don’t water the lawn if rains are expected soon. Keep track of rainfall for the week.
     
    ·       Water the lawn once your grass begins to discolor and wilt. If you aren’t able to keep the grass green, water your lawn with at least half an inch of water every seven to fourteen days, which will keep the plants alive even if they are dormant.
      
    Green Industries of Colorado (GreenCO) has produced two helpful fact sheets How Your Sprinkler System Can Save Water and Money and Water Conserving Tips for HOAs and Large Commercial Properties as well as an informative video Sprinkler Tips to Save Water, to aid you in improving your irrigation practices.