Water Management

 As the cost and availability of water is a hot topic in adjacent states,  there is no doubt that at some point Arizona will be in the same boat. Many cities and communities are being pressured to reduce water consumption, with the #1 consumer being the landscape.  Here are a few tips on how you can better manage water in your landscape:

  • Change irrigation controller programming at least quarterly to adjust to seasonal weather changes.
  • Watering schedules should be based off of the evapotranspiration rate (ET) and not on past years’ runtimes.
  • Group plants with similar water needs on zones together. High-water demanding trees such as ash should be on a separate zone from a low-water use tree like a palo verde.
  • Maintain at least 2” of mulch- either d.g. or bark mulch over all soil to help reduce the evaporation of moisture from soil.
  • Longer yet infrequent soaks are better for most plants but plant type and age, soil type and exposure all determine runtimes and frequency of cycles.
  • Have an irrigation technician review your system’s infrastructure to check for leaks and inefficiencies. Leaks and seeps should be repaired quickly to prevent water waste.
  • Update the controller to a ‘smart controller,’ or a wifi-based system so you can make changes to your programming remotely in case of unpredicted weather changes.
  • As your landscape matures,  plants’ water needs change. Moving, adding, or even reducing  emitters is necessary to maintain the health of your landscape.
  • Replacing turfgrass spray heads with high efficiency nozzles can help reduce water loss due to evaporation.
  • The signs of overwatering can be similar to underwatering. Physically feeling the soil moisture in the root zone is the only sure way to know if a plant needs more or less water.

Water management technologies and strategies have greatly improved over the past two decades, but the up- front costs to invest in infrastructure and equipment  may keep some from taking the plunge to update their irrigation system.  While a new ‘smart controller’ can help get your system watering more efficiently,  it is very important to make sure your system is in good working order.  Your licensed landscape contractor can help get your system working efficiently, saving you water and money. The time to be prepared for the possibility of future water restrictions is now!