Water Conservation Tips

Water is one of our most valuable resources and it’s important we all do our part to help conserve it. Marlo Company recognizes the importance of water conservation. We continually do research and educate ourselves to remain at the forefront of water conservation techniques and use only the latest in water efficient, green parts and products. This not only saves water, it saves you money too!

Water Conservation Tips MI

Here are some tips on how you can conserve water and maintain a lush, healthy lawn and landscape:

Raise your mower blade – Raise your lawn mower cutting height by adjusting your blade to a height of 1.5 to 2 inches. This is especially important in summer months, when mowing too close to the ground will promote thirsty new growth. Longer grass promotes deeper root growth and a more drought resistant lawn. Longer grass blades help shade each other, reducing evaporation and minimizing weed growth.

Minimize or eliminate fertilizer – While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Fertilizers encourage thirsty new growth, causing your landscape to require additional water. Minimize or eliminate the use of fertilizer whenever possible. If you do need to fertilize, look for a product that contains “natural organic” or “slow-release” ingredients. These fertilizers feed plants slowly and evenly and help yo create healthier plants with strong roots systems and no excessive “top growth”. Moreover, using “slow-release” fertilizers can reduce nutrient run-off into ground and surface waters, protecting natural. 

Water Fact: Nearly 97% of the world’s water is salty or otherwise undrinkable. Another 2% is locked in ice caps and glaciers. That leaves just 1% for all of humanity’s need – all its agricultural, residential, manufacturing, community, and personal needs.

Use mulch around shrubs and garden plants – Landscape plants benefit greatly from organic mulches. Mulching helps to greatly reduce evaporation, inhibit weed growth, moderate soil temperature, and prevent erosion. A two-to-four inch layer of organic mulch will keep roots cooler and will help retain moisture. Keeping weeds in check, improving soils structure, and increasing water and nutrient holding abilities for the soil, mulching is an easy addition to your landscape that offers huge benefits.

Aerate soil – Soil can become compacted over time. Aerating your soil with a simple lawn aerator can increase the infiltration of water into the ground, improving water flow to plants’ root zone. Holes every six inches or so will allow water to reach roots, rather than run off the surface.

“Grass-cycle” – “Recycle” your grass. Leave the grass clippings on your lawn after you mow. This helps cool the ground and holds in moisture. Clippings quickly decompose and release valuable nutrients back into the soil to feed grass, reducing the need for nitrogen.

Tip: If walking across the lawn leaves footprints (blades don’t spring back up) then it is time to water.

Add a Soil Moisture Sensor – Soil moisture-based control technologies water plants based on their needs by measuring the amount of moisture in the soil and tailoring irrigation schedules accordingly. Studies suggest that soil moisture sensors can result in water savings of at least 20 percent, potentially saving millions of gallons of water across the country. Soil moisture sensors take the guess work out of watering and help improve your irrigation system’s efficiency. 

Prune Sparingly – Pruning can enhance the beauty or health of a plant, but poor pruning can permanently damage it and turn an attractive landscape into an eyesore. If the right size plant is planted in an appropriate location, then little pruning should be necessary. Trees, shrubs, bushes and more grow low to the ground. These plants low branches provide shade for the trunk and roots. The shade also keeps surrounding soil cooler so moisture will be maintained longer, and helps litter fall stay in place, providing natural mulch for the plant. This is why it is important not to over-prune, especially before the onset of the hot summer months. Leave low branches on trees, shrubs and the like so these plants can provide much needed shade for themselves all season long.

Water Fact: Facilities with large, maintained landscapes – such as schools, office buildings, hotels and parks – devote as much as 30 percent of their water use to keeping plants and turf healthy. Experts estimate that as much as 50 percent of this water is wasted due to over-watering caused by inefficiencies in irrigation methods and systems.

Remove weeds – Remember to weed your lawn and garden areas regularly. Weeds compete with other plants and grass for nutrients, light and water. The best time to control weeds is before they gain a foothold in your landscape. Many seeds can be carried into your yard by the wind, birds, or other animals. It’s important to remove weeds in the landscape before they flower to prevent seeds from forming and reseeding. Weeds can also germinate anytime soil is disturbed. Pulling weeds is your best strategy. However, there are weed control chemicals that can be applied to prevent seeds from germinating, or that can be applied to kill weeds after they’re up and growing. When pulling established weeds, wait until after watering or rain for easier removal and a better chance at getting the whole plant – roots and all.

Add Drip Irrigation for more efficient watering – Drip systems are generally more efficient than conventional sprinklers for watering certain parts of your landscape. They deliver low volumes of water directly to plant’s roots, minimizing loss to wind, runoff, evaporation, or over-spray. Drip line systems use 20 to 50 percent less water than conventional pop-up sprinklers. Drip lines are generally installed right around your garden, flower beds, potted containers, bushes, etc. to ensure these areas are given just the right amount of water while reducing waste through evaporation and run off. This direct watering option also helps keep weeds at bay.

Opt for a “zone defense” approach – schedule each individual zone in your irrigation system to account for the type of sprinkler, sun or shade exposure and type of plants and soil in each specific zone. The same watering schedule rarely applies to all zones in a system. Using a mass schedule for all zones could cause areas to be over or under watered. 

No matter what kind of yard or landscape you have, it’s important to know exactly how much water your landscape needs before you turn on the sprinklers. Smart watering practices reduce runoff, waste, and may decrease the need for pesticides and fertilizers.

Use regionally appropriate, low water-using, native plants – Once established, these plants require little water beyond normal rainfall. Also, because native plants are adapted to local soils and climate conditions, the rarely require the addition of fertilizer and are more resistant to pests and diseases than other species.

Group plants according to their water needs – Grouping vegetation with similar watering needs into specific zones reduces water use and protects the plants from both under and over watering by allowing you to water for each zone’s specific needs.

Invest in a Rain Sensor – There is no need to run your sprinkler system while it is raining, but what if you aren’t home to manually shut off your system when the rain starts? Rain sensors detect when it is raining and overrides your controller to prevent your sprinklers from turning on until after the rain has stopped and conditions are ideal to begin watering again. These devices are relatively inexpensive, can save you quite a bit of money, cut down on wasted water, and are easily retrofitted to almost any system. 

Water Fact: A 1/2″ sprinkler pipe can flow 13 to 16 gallons of water per minute (GPM). If a damaged or broken head is left unrepaired, it can waste 7800 gallons of water in just one month of typical watering.

Minimize steep slopes – Slopes can be challenging because of the potential for erosion and runoff. If slopes cannot be avoided in your landscape design, install plants with deeper root zones such as native ground covers and shrubs to provide stabilization and prevent erosion.

Recognize site conditions and plant appropriately – Areas at the same site can vary significantly in soil type, sun and wind exposure, as well as evaporation rates and moisture levels. Be mindful of a site’s exposure to these elements and choose plants that will thrive in that particular area’s conditions.

Invest in a “Smart Controller” for your irrigation system – This small investment can offer huge returns in both cost savings, water conservation and landscape health. Traditional clock or timer-based controllers adhere to preset schedules, which can lead to unnecessary watering, watering that can damage your lawn and landscape, and many other inefficiencies. Smart controllers are designed to do all of the thinking for you, saving you both time and money. Smart controllers act like a thermostat for your sprinkler system, telling it when to turn on and off. Using local weather and landscape conditions, these controllers tailor watering schedules to actual real-time conditions.

Make sure when watering, you water thoroughly and deeply at each watering, but allow soil to dry out between cycles. Doing this will encourage roots to grow deep into the soil where they’ll be better protected from heat and dryness.

Inspect your irrigation system regularly – Sprinklers should be checked frequently since they are above ground and can easily get damaged or misdirected. When it comes to your irrigation system, a little maintenance goes a long way. Inspect all components of your system, from the backflow preventer to the valves, for standing water, soggy ground, or eroded soil. Also, check the irrigation lines from valves to the spray head. Check that sprinkler heads are flush with the soil surface and are straight, not tilted. Clear grass, plants and other obstructions that block sprinkler spray. If necessary, make sure heads are adjusted so they are not spraying walls, driveways, or sidewalks. If you have any pooling water or large wet areas, you could have a leak in your system. Regular inspections can save you large amounts of money in the long run.

Keep your soil healthy – Healthy soils cycle nutrients, minimize runoff, retain water, and absorb excess nutrients, sediments and pollutants. You can have your soil tested for nutrient content. pH, soil composition, and organic matter content to get an idea of how healthy your soil is.

Water Fact: The United States uses roughly 346,000 million gallons of fresh water everyday. Nearly 80 percent of this use ifs for irrigation and thermoelectric power.

Use the appropriate sprinkler heads for your watering needs – Certain types of sprinkler heads apply water more efficiently than others. Rotary spray heads deliver water in a thicker stream than mist spray heads, ensuring more water reaches plants and grass and less is lost to evaporation and wind.

Water at the right time – Avoid watering in the middle of the day. The sun will evaporate much of the water before it ever reaches thirsty grass and plants. Watering in the evening isn’t a good idea either because leaves and other debris can remain wet overnight – an open invitation for fungus to grow. Watering should occur in the early morning hours while most people are sleeping, when wind is calm and temperatures are cool. These conditions are ideal for your landscape to soak up the most water and will give debris and leaves time to dry out during the day. Update your system’s watering schedule to align with the seasons. Your landscape will require less water in the spring and fall and will require more water during summer months, to ensure plants do not suffer from the heat and dryer conditions. Talk to your irrigation specialist to determine the appropriate water schedule for your lawn.

Water Fact: The average total in-home water use for each person in the United States is about 50 gallons a day.

Water Fact: Residential water us in the United States accounts for nearly 9 billion gallons of water each day, mainly for landscape irrigation. As much as half of this water is wasted due to evaporation, wind, or runoff, often caused by improper irrigation system design, installation, maintenance, or scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Will my existing lawn suffer significant damage from installing a sprinkler system?

A. At Marlo, we take utmost care to limit any damage to your existing lawn and landscape during the installation process. We use a vibratory plow to install the underground piping. This results in minimal (if any) damage to existing turf. Installing an irrigation system  in an existing lawn is like a major surgery for your yard. But like with any surgery, the scars heal over time. On average, most yards are completely healed within 2-3 weeks (many of our yards heal much faster).

Q. We generally get 40 or more inches of rainfall a year. Do we really need a sprinkler system?

A. If it rained at your house every three days – the same exact amount each time – you probably wouldn’t need a sprinkler system. Unfortunately, nature doesn’t work that way. The only way to ensure a healthy, lush lawn is to make certain your lawn and plants received regular timed, evenly measured amounts of water. In the dry season when there is little or no rain, your yard can suffer damage after just a few days without water.

Q. How much will a good system cost?

A. The price of a system will vary depending on a few factors such as, property size, type of landscaping and special designs. Rest assured you can always count on Marlo to design a cost-effective, eco-friendly system comprised of only quality parts.

Q. Will an automatic sprinkler system water as well as I can water by hand?

A. It will do a much better job. A professionally designed system delivers the exact amount of water to your lawn and garden areas. It takes the guess work out knowing when to water and how much.

Q. Does having a sprinkler system really save time?

A. Yes. You won’t have to spend another minute of your valuable time watering your lawn. Your new system will do all the watering for you – even when you’re away from home.

Q. Will an automatic sprinkler system use more water than manual sprinklers attached to my water hose?

A. No. In fact, it will conserve water. You’ll never have to worry about runoff from over watering or wasting water when you forget to turn off the hose. Systems are designed to give your lawn just the right amount of water needed to be lush, healthy and green.

Q. How do I know what type of system is best for me?

A. At Marlo we use an irrigation engineer assess your landscape, water source, appropriate pressure, soil type, planting materials and weather conditions. This information is then used to customize the irrigation system being installed at your property. Ensuring your every need is met.

Q. Are there different systems to choose from or are they all the same?

A. While every system Marlo installs is catered to the individual needs of the customer, all systems include the same basic essentials: a controller (which functions as the brains of the system), valves (open and close to release and stop the flow of water to underground pipes) and sprinklers (the mechanism that distributes water to a given area).