Updated: Mar 31, 2022
As I travel around the neighborhoods maintaining my clients yards, I can’t help but notice irrigation water being siphoned off by the wind and heat. I see money being evaporated away. What do I mean? Homeowners irrigation timers are set to turn on their systems in the afternoon and evening when the wind is blowing and the heat is intense. As this occurs only 20%-40% of the water ever hits the ground. When you think about this, it means that 60%-80% of the water never touches the soil that your garden is growing in, much less penetrating deep into the root system.
So, what can be done about this? Water before the sun rises and the winds start to blow. Readjust your timer start time so that the watering sequence will be finished just before sunrise.
Some water their lawns early in the morning and then later in the evening hoping that this will give their thirsting lawn the water it needs. But they still continue having a stressed looking lawn. It would seem to make sense watering this way because we all get thirsty more than once a day. However, because we have clay soil, the water cannot penetrate quickly into it. After about 7 or 8 minutes of watering time the water will start to run off, and the rest of your money, I mean water, will be draining away.
What to do? Most timers have 3 start times. Set your 3 start times 1 hour apart. Say, the first start time will be 12:00 a.m. in the morning, the second start time 1:00 a.m. and the third will be at 2:00 a.m. Each station should have only 5minutes run times each. Be sure that the first total run time minutes does not overlap on the second start time. By doing this sequence type watering schedule, you allow the ground to absorb the water, and to soften for deeper penetration on the next watering cycle, thus creating a reservoir of water in the root system where you wanted your water to be in the first place.
I hope this helps to make your garden thrive and make the most of your hard earned dollar. There are other reasons for stressed lawns and plants, But we’ll touch on those another day.