Conserving Water Outdoors Pays Off for Homeowners Associations
Saving water outdoors can require planning and some investment in new plants or an updated irrigation system. For HOAs, the payoff from these investments can be great. Many homeowners groups are unaware of optimum watering cycles for their landscape and give plants more water than they need. Significant water savings can be achieved by simply adjusting sprinkler timers to match plant watering needs. Savings can also be achieved by switching some or all of common landscape areas to drought tolerant and other low-water use plants. For many HOAs, landscape irrigation currently accounts for 90 percent or more of all the water used at their properties. Cutting back on irrigation cycles or moving to less water intensive plantings can thus provide an immediate reduction in water consumption and an immediate reduction in water bills.
Complementing Your Smart Irrigation System with Sustainable Solutions
There are plenty of additional considerations you can explore to complement your smart irrigation system and contribute toward a truly sustainable landscape.
Green walls. A vertical, vegetative “living wall,” a green wall can be freestanding or part of a building and can help reduce the overall temperature of the building, improve the aesthetics and can even aid in water reuse, purification and retention.Soil testing. Submit a soil sample to a testing laboratory for an inexpensive report explaining its balance of nutrients, which will assist with selecting the appropriate fertilizer and application rate.
Aerification, amendments and mulch. Implementing a regular aerification schedule and base layer of organic matter or calcined clay products will aid in water and nutrient retention and allow deeper infiltration into the soil profile to promote deeper root growth and help plants resist disease and better withstand drought conditions.
Slow-release fertilizer. The use of coated, slow-release fertilizers, which have lower salt indexes than other quickly-available nitrogen fertilizers, means less watering when compared to their non-coated counterpart products.
Fertilizer injection systems (fertigation). Fertigation, derived from the combination of fertilization and irrigation, allows you to fertilize and irrigate a section of turf in one simple step, making it easier for nutrients to infiltrate plant root zones and eliminating the need for watering above and beyond the irrigation system’s scheduled program run time.
Today’s irrigation systems include sophisticated controllers that allow you to easily adjust watering schedules to fit different needs.
Get in the zone. Schedule each individual zone in your irrigation system to account for type of sprinkler, sun or shade exposure, and soil in that section. Different zones will almost always need different watering schedules.
Consider soil type. Type of soil determines how quickly water can be absorbed without runoff. Watering more than soil can absorb causes runoff and waste.
Don’t send water down the drain. Set sprinklers to water plants, not your driveway, sidewalk, patio or buildings.
Water only when needed. Saturate root zones and let the soil dry. Watering too much and too frequently results in shallow roots, weed growth, disease and fungus.
Water at the best time. Watering during the heat of the day may cause losses of up to 30 percent due to evaporation. Prevent water loss by watering when the sun is low or down, winds are calm and temperatures are cool — typically between the evening and early morning.
Water more often for shorter periods. For example, setting your system to run for three, 5-minute intervals lets soil absorb more water than watering for 15 minutes at one time, reducing runoff.
Adapt watering to the season. Familiarize yourself with the settings on your irrigation controller and adjust the watering schedule regularly based on seasonal weather conditions. Or invest in a smart controller so your system can make these changes automatically.
Smart Irrigation Month is an initiative of the Irrigation Association, a non-profit industry organization dedicated to promoting efficient irrigation. Learn more at www.smartirrigationmonth.org.Provided for the Irrigation Association by Ewing Irrigation Products, Inc.
July 1, 2013 (Phoenix, AZ) James Haley of Terrapro Landscape Maintenance, a provider of Landscape Maintenance services for association management firms has recently achieved the distinguished ‘Educated Business Partner’ status; awarded through the Business Partner Essentials Program of CAI (Community Associations Institute).
James Haley now joins an elite group of professionals nationwide who have successfully completed the two part Business Partner Essentials course and assessment. This course is designed to promote better understanding of community associations and the many types of businesses serving them. The course material covers a wide range of topics including the history of associations, the bid process, and the ethics of doing business with an association. Those successfully completing the course and examination achieve the recognition of CAI Educated Business Partner.
CAI is an association of 31,000 members specifically created by industry leaders to build better communities. Please visit here to learn more about Business Partner Essentials.