Less water, more green
We must find ways to use water resources more efficiently and recycle them as much as possible.
Landscapers must figure out just how much water can be cut without stressing the turf and the plants. In severe drought situations, this matter becomes even more serious. It is the new topic from Mary Elizabeth Williams-Villano article, on Irrigation & Green Industry online page.
There are many techniques and tools available for landscapers to decrease water usage without killing off plants. Some of them you may already be using; others you may not have tried yet. Here are some of them:
Change out old components and add new devices
Users can substantially decrease the amount of water used in a landscape by adding smart controllers and soil moisture sensors. There are different components to deliver water through the system. Simply substituting more efficient Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense-rated nozzles for older or conventional sprays and rotors can cut water use by 30% or more.
Drip and low-volume micro-sprays and bubblers irrigate in terms of gallons per hour, where conventional sprays and rotors do it in gallons per minute. Drip and point-source irrigation deposit water directly to a plant’s roots, with little, lost to evaporation. This type of irrigation is ideal for planter beds.
Sensoterra is a world leader in wireless soil moisture sensor solutions, providing data-driven solutions for optimizing land and freshwater resources for agriculture, horticulture, landscaping, and Smart cities. Empowering better decision making for land management through smart soil moisture measurements. With thousands of Sensoterra sensors in the ground, generating over 60 million data points globally.
Find turf’s "happy zone"
When a drought hits, municipalities and water purveyors start offering monetary incentives to home and business owners for replacing their lawns with artificial turf or plants such as succulents or natives.
Turf replacement is a hot-topic topic in landscape and irrigation circles, and understandably so. Landscape, landscape maintenance and lawn care contractors don’t like to hear people being encouraged to tear out grass lawns, as mowing, trimming, fertilizing, aerating and applying weed and pest control to that grass are their livelihood. Furthermore, grass has benefits: produces oxygen, reduces soil erosion, and reduces the urban heat island effect. Most of all, it produces recreational spaces and provides human enjoyment.
The key factor is to find a "happy zone", and that’s to water turf more efficiently. Deep, infrequent watering gets down to the grass’ roots and prevents saturation and runoff. Individual grass plants send roots deeper into the ground, resulting in healthier lawns — and a healthy lawn needs much less water overall.
Guarantee a good soil and mow high
For Mike Garcia, permaculture expert and landscape contractor and owner of Enviroscape LA, Redondo Beach, California, water conservation all starts with the soil. “If you have healthy soil, full of mycorrhizae and lots of good bugs like microbes and earthworms, you won’t need nearly as much water,” he says. In case users apply medium to high synthetics or petroleum-based fertilizers on the soil to make up for what it lacks, Wilson says they will only need a fraction of the normally used amount of water. If soil is deficient, adding compost or biochar will help build it up.
Water savings comes with an extra bonus: better soil. “Keeping grass longer builds a lawn’s topsoil and adds organic matter to it,” says Wilson. He says this happens even if you don’t mulch-mow, leaving the clippings in place — but if you do, that is even more efficient.
Sensoterra was founded in 2014 and is based in Amsterdam the Netherlands, and supports farmers, landscapers, and smart city users on making smarter irrigation decisions for soil management. With IoT and LoRaWAN connectivity, Sensoterra sensors are wireless, working from remote areas to urban farmings.
Caroline is a Soil Data Manager at Sensoterra. Previously, she worked as a laboratory analyst, responsible for data analysis of roots and soil, identifying pesticide contamination and plant accumulation. Her background is in Environmental Science, with a Masters's degree in Water & Environment from Radboud University.Get in touch