Irrigation, or the artificial application of water to land or soil, is used to assist in the growing of crops, the maintenance of landscapes, and the re-vegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas. Irrigation goes as far back as the Ancient Egyptians, who practiced Basin Irrigation and used the flooding of the Nile to inundate land plots. Today, with the advent of electric models, we use systems to pump groundwater. Most people use localized irrigation systems, where water is distributed under low pressure through a piped network in a pre-determined patter. Thus, water is applied as a small discharge to the grass or plants adjacent to it. Read on to learn some irrigation facts.
Water deep, not frequently.
The frequency of watering doesn’t matter nearly as much as watering deeply. Remember that shallow watering only wets the soil, which means that the water doesn’t have a chance to soak in. This means that your grass roots will have to grow closer to the surface in order to get water, and allows the sun to steal your water through evaporation. In the Dallas area, there is a twice-weekly watering schedule for people who are on city water. Those on well water may water their yards as they please, but should remember that water conservation is important for everyone living in areas that tend to be very dry.
Measure your watering coverage.
To measure your watering coverage, you should perform a “can test,” using coffee cans or other flat bottomed containers. Place the containers on your lawn in various locations. Run your irrigation system for a set period of time, then check the contents of the cans. You should have the same amount in all the cans. If not, adjust the time up or down, and adjust the zones to achieve even coverage.
Choosing a Sprinkler
Each type of sprinkler has its benefits, so it is important to think about your specific needs when choosing a sprinkler for your lawn and garden. Consider what kind of yard you have, and you should measure it to determine how wide and long the sprinkler flow needs to reach. Automatic sprinklers with heads that emerge from the ground may be ideal for high traffic areas, so that you can consistently water your yard in the same areas. Consider your soil type to determine how long and deep a sprinkler’s water must run to be effective.
After selecting and installing the appropriate sprinkler, you should develop a watering plan for the garden and lawn. Applying water in intervals over several hours helps reach deep roots of trees and plants. You don’t want to water your lawn after heavy rain. If you do, you will develop areas of standing water. You should allow the soil to dry between watering to help prevent fungal disease, which often develops in moist conditions. Also, watering early in the morning allows plants to dry throughout the day.