Water and Irrigation
Water is an important resource in the home lawn and landscape. While Butler County receives approximately 33 inches of rain on average, this amount is often not adequate for optimum growth during all parts of the growing season. Despite this it is still possible to have great lawns, landscapes and gardens in Butler County and still conserve water. It just takes a little bit of planning and some adjustments to your watering methods.
- Basic Principles of Water Management
- Watering the Lawn
- Watering Newly Planted Trees and Shrubs
- Watering Established Trees
- Watering Flower and Vegetable Gardens
- Watering Containers and Raised Beds
Water Wise Techniques
There are several techniques that you as a homeowner can utilize to help reduce the amount of water you use while also setting your lawn, garden or landscape up for success.
- Landscape is designed to exsist primarily on rainfall once established with little supplementation needed except during periods of drought.
- Water deeply and infrequently to establish a stronger root system. This means you water to replenish soil moisture and then wait as long as you can before watering again. Watering too frequently results in a shallow root system and plants that struggle in the heat.
- In heavy clay soils use the soak and cycle method to thoroughly saturate the soil without loosing too much water to runoff. For example, irrigate till water starts to run off then turn the water off and wait 30 to 90 minutes then water again till the water runs off. Repeat till soil is saturated down to 12".
- Irrigate as early in the morning as possible, even before sunrise if possible, this maximizes your systems efficiency and you lose less water due to wind.
- Monitor the weather, if you have an automatic watering system turn it off when it's raining if possible since the weather is already irrigating your plants.
- Drip irrigation is 20-40% more efficient than sprinklers at watering plants as it reduces evaporation and runoff. You can either utilize soaker hoses or a drip irrigation system with zones set up to water areas as needed.
This method of watering is one of the most efficient and effective watering choices that a gardener can use. Because the water is slowly delivered to the soil it does not evaporate or run off when compared to other methods. Drip irrigation systems apply water frequently and efficiently to the plant's root system. And, they can save up to 60 percent on water over a conventional sprinkler system.
Watering your garden can be expensive if you're using city water. Careful planning, proper soil preparation, efficient watering, and use of mulches can all be combined to make the most of every available drop of water.
It's important to water young, newly planted trees for several years after they have been planted in order to set them up for success. Even large, mature trees occasionally need water during times of drought or extreme heat.
Catching rain water and utilizing it to water flowerbeds, gardens or containers is one way to reduce your cost of watering in the summer. Approximately a quarter of an inch of rain on a 1,200 sq ft roof will fill one 55 gallon rain barrel.