Drip Irrigation Suppliers
Lawn and landscape maintenance often requires large amounts of water, particularly in areas with low rainfall. Outdoor residential water use varies greatly depending on geographic location and season. On an annual average basis, outdoor water use in the arid West and Southwest is much greater than that in the East or Midwest. Nationally, lawn care accounts for about 32 percent of the total residential outdoor use. Other outdoor uses include washing automobiles, maintaining swimming pools, and cleaning sidewalks and driveways.
One method of water conservation in landscaping uses plants that need little water, thereby saving not only water but labor and fertilizer as well. A similar method is grouping plants with similar water needs. Scheduling lawn irrigation for specific early morning or evening hours can reduce water wasted due to evaporation during daylight hours. Another water use efficiency practice that can be applied to residential landscape irrigation is the use of cycle irrigation methods to improve penetration and reduce runoff. Cycle irrigation provides the right amount of water at the right time and place, for optimal growth. Other practices include the use of low-precipitation-rate sprinklers that have better distribution uniformity, bubbler/soaker systems, or drip irrigation systems.
Careful design of landscapes could significantly reduce water usage nationwide. Xeriscape landscaping is an innovative, comprehensive approach to landscaping for water conservation and pollution prevention. Traditional landscapes might incorporate one or two principles of water conservation, but xeriscape landscaping uses all of the following: planning and design, soil analysis, selection of suitable plants, practical turf areas, efficient irrigation, use of mulches, and appropriate maintenance.
Benefits of xeriscape landscaping include reduced water use, decreased energy use (less pumping and treatment required), reduced heating and cooling costs because of carefully placed trees, decreased storm water and irrigation runoff, fewer yard wastes, increased habitat for plants and animals, and lower labor and maintenance costs.
More than 40 states have initiated xeriscape projects. Some communities use contests and demonstration gardens to promote public awareness. El Paso Water Utilities and the Council of El Paso Garden Clubs sponsor an annual "Accent Sun Country" contest. The contest spotlights homes that have water-conserving landscapes consisting of plants and grasses that require only a minimum of supplemental water and yet beautify the homes. The winning entries are publicized, and cash prizes are awarded. People are invited to tour the grounds to get ideas on how they, too, can save water, time, and money while maintaining an attractive landscape. The offices of the Southwest Florida Water Management District in Tampa and Brooksville offer free xeriscape tours every month. The tours begin with a slide show on the principles of xeriscape and continue with a walking tour of water-saving landscaping.
Outdoor water use can be reduced by watering the lawn early in the morning or late in the evening and on cooler days, when possible, to reduce evaporation. Allowing the grass to grow slightly taller will reduce water loss by providing more ground shade for the roots and by promoting water retention in the soil. Growing plants that are suited to the area ("indigenous" plants) can save more than 50 percent of the water normally used to care for outdoor plants.