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How Much Water Does A Lawn Need?

Lawns need less water than most people apply.

Lawns are often over-watered. Almost everyone has seen water running down the gutter from someone’s lawn sprinklers. But it is not the lawn’s fault that sprinklers are left on too long and water is wasted. The real challenge is watering a lawn correctly.

Typically, sprinkler timers are set by trial and error to a schedule that provides enough water during the hottest weather conditions, and therefore they turn on too frequently and stay on for too long during cooler times.

As a result, lawns have gotten an undeserved reputation for using a lot of water when it is actually a matter of improper settings on the sprinkler timer.

Figuring Out the Correct Sprinkler Run Time

The amount of water a lawn needs is equal to moisture lost through evaporation. The formula for determining sprinkler run time and number of days per week is:

Evaporation /sprinkler Precipitation Rate = Sprinkler Run Time

Realistically, few people have the time or the interest to go through the calculations and timer adjustments every week to keep pace with changing weather. In the past, the easy answer to keeping a lawn green was to set the timer on high and if there was runoff, so what? Now with conservation needs and rationing, lawn owners need to manage their watering more precisely. Click the link below to the university of California lawn watering guide

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Technology to the Rescue

Recognizing the need for water conservation, modern communication and computer technology have been applied to sprinkler timers. These new generation “smart devices” are called weather based controllers. They are computerized sprinkler timers that are wirelessly connected to weather stations in your area.

The computer is programmed with your own sprinkler system and soil types, and everything else is automated. The computer turns on the sprinklers as necessary for exactly the right amount of time depending on real-time weather data.

Use Soil Moisture Sensors

Today’s technology offers many solutions such as the Toro XTRA Smart™ Precision™ Soil Moisture Sensor. It turns most timers into a “smart” timer and meets the municipal requirements in many areas. Save up to 35% in annual water usage and works with most irrigation timers.

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Time to Get Rid of the Lawn, or to Get The Irrigation Right?

Those who sell water are promoting lawn elimination programs as a water conservation strategy. Such programs are not unlike “throwing the baby out with the bath water.”

Lawns have innumerable environmental and quality of life benefits, and eliminating lawns likewise eliminates those benefits. Watering lawns correctly is the win-win solution and weather-based controllers are the easiest way to accomplish it.

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