I’m giving everyone a homework assignment for the weekend, but I better not catch anybody doing it during the Michigan/Ohio State game tomorrow. Don’t forget that as you read on and get ambitious there is no chore more important than a Michigan victory.  OK–now that I have that out of the way I will begin.  Let’s talk about efficient watering…..

Checking your irrigation clock and sprinklers monthly is just as important as checking the tire pressure in your car.  The consequences are not quite the same, but checking your clock and sprinklers monthly can save you lots of money on your monthly water bill, and it’ll help conserve water.  There are often news stories regarding how much water is used for home lawns and golf courses.  What they aren’t telling you is that 70 % of the water used is unnecessarily wasted by homeowners.  That’s right–I said 70 %!  

There are a few very simple things you can do to cut your water bill in half.  The first step is to run through the stations on your clock and look at your sprinklers.  The pops ups that many of us have constantly clog with dirt, the tops get broken or chewed off by dogs (maybe that is just an English Bulldog thing), or they have a tendency to leak at the riser on the sprinkler.  Since you should be watering in the early morning (when there is the least amount of wind), it is very tough to know if you have a broken or clogged without checking them at least monthly.  All you need to do is turn them on for about 1 minute per station, make sure the coverage is good, nothing is stuck in the nozzles, and you have no broken heads or pipes (causing twice as much water to go out as necessary).  If you have a clogged nozzle take out the screen, wash it out, and put it back on.  If the nozzle is broken they’re only about $3 to replace.   They simply screw on and they come with new filters for the nozzles. 

There’s a variety of irrigation clocks out there, and even the most expensive clocks need to be checked often.  As we move into the winter months you can cut your watering back to 2x per week versus 3 x per week in the summer.  Just as your desert plants and trees take half as much water in the winter, so does your winter lawn.  Once you have established your overseeded lawn for the winter there’s no need to put any more than 1“ of water on the grass in a given week.  Since most people are using pop up sprinklers, the average run time would be around 15-25 minutes every 3-7 days depending on the weather.  Your grass should be plenty strong now and it only hinders your grass to water daily.  To determine if you are watering deep enough stick a screwdriver in the ground 30 minutes after the water has run.   You should be able to push it down 6 inches.  If you really want to save water and resources (and you should!), you need to keep a close eye on it.   Until you start to leave footprints on your lawn that don’t immediately recover, it doesn’t need to be irrigated.  This is an easy way to determine how long you can space out your watering.  If you are leaving footprints after 4 days, then you know that your lawn requires water every 3 days.  This tip can help you reduce your water budget in half.

Let me quickly go over what to do with your non-overseeded turf.  Not overseeding is definitely the best way to save money and water, but keep in mind that you can’t completely shut down the system until  the spring.  It’s advisable to water every 3-4 weeks for about 30-60 minutes to keep moisture in the ground and prevent and winter desiccation.

I am sure that many of you have heard of the “tuna can” test to test your pressure and coverage.  For those of you who haven’t, it’s a simple test to check how efficient your irrigation system is.  You want to put out little cans in several spots all over the yard and run the sprinklers for 5 minutes to see how much water is collected.  This test will help you determine if there are too many sprinklers on a particular valve, what your water output is per minute, and if you’re getting head to head coverage.  If you have low pressure you may have to add a valve to the system, or reduce the spacing of the sprinklers and add some to another valve.  If you do not have head to head coverage, you’ll want to either get the next size nozzle up or down, and get adjustable nozzles to fit the patterns of our lawn.

Go ahead and try these tips this weekend, and I know your water bill shrink. I have attached a water guideline chart, and some other water saving tips for you to take a look at.  Have a good weekend and GO BLUE!!  Beat the Buckeyes!!!


 Thanks for reading!