In some parts of
the United States it would be difficult to grow any ornamental plants
In fact, due to a shortage of water, some desert
regions practice Xeriscaping, which is the use of plants with extremely
low water requirements.
In western Pennsylvania, we're fortunate to have steady rainfall during most
years. Pittsburgh is
doubly fortunate to receive regular rainfall plus enjoy a steady supply
of water from the three rivers. On the other hand,
the southeastern part of the state have suffered some severe summer
droughts over the past couple decades.
Clean water is a valuable commodity and prices around the country are
reflecting that fact more each year. To be good stewards of this resource, we must not waste,
pollute or neglect our future water supply. With irrigation systems, our
main concern has to be not wasting water. By adjusting how often we water,
and what time of day, we can help the overall situation instead of making it
early in the day
By setting irrigation systems to run early in the morning (4:00am to
6:00am) we can maximize water usage by preventing the evaporation
that's common in the heat of the day. Early morning watering is also
recommended by plant pathologists, since evening irrigation can
encourage lawn disease development.
Most Pennsylvania lawns and ornamental plants require
approximately one inch of water per week during the growing season.
During periods when rainfall is less than this amount, it may be
necessary to provide an equivalent amount to keep lawns and plants
looking their best.
One thorough watering per week is more beneficial to lawns and
plants than several light waterings. Light waterings can promote
shallow roots, making plants more vulnerable to drought
To prevent water from running off the soil surface, consider setting
your sprinkler system to run two or three times the same morning,
allowing time in between cycles for water to soak into the
Consider adding an override device that will deactivate your
sprinkler system if there's been recent rainfall. Most devices are
simply small cups that hold rainwater - once the rainwater
evaporates the system is reactivated.
Generally speaking, the more
sprinkler zones the better. Chances are you won't want to water
shrub beds as often as you would a lawn area. Or you may wish to
water annual flower beds more often than anything else, especially
right after planting new flowers. Therefore it's best to have these
areas set-up on different zones so you can water one type of area
without watering another.
heads the better
The best irrigation coverage is accomplished by using more heads.
Every section of your lawn should be irrigated by at least two heads
-- this is what we call 'overlap.' In other words, the water spray
from one head should reach another sprinkler head and visa versa.
This sort of overlap helps prevent gaps in coverage.
Too few heads in a shrub bed can lead to missed areas as well,
especially as shrubs grow taller and wider.
In Pennsylvania, it's
important to deactivate your irrigation system for winter by
shutting off the irrigation water supply, turning off the controller
and blowing out the irrigation pipes with compressed air. Failure to
do so will probably lead to burst pipes requiring expensive
In the spring of the year,
the irrigation system needs to be reactivated by turning on the
water supply, activating the controller and then ensuring the system
is operating properly.
Lawn weed control
Lawns with low maintenance practices