Texas produces the most wind power of any state in the union. While this form of energy is as clean as it is green, the wind that produces it can wreak havoc on your irrigation system. Even the gentlest breeze will blow around droplets from most sprinklers causing an unnecessary waste of water.
Because wind is a fact of life in the Lone Star State, the best advice is to avoid indiscriminate use of irrigation systems that spray water into the air. Drip systems work especially well because emmiters release water directly into the soil. Underground or subsurface drip systems are great for lawns but are also more expensive than sprinklers and require special maintenance procedures.
Bubblers are also another great option. Like drip systems, bubblers release water directly at soil level. These devices work by flooding small patches of ground with water. You should not use them for lawns however because they, unlike drip system emitters, will release water faster than the soil can absorb it. Install them on flat ground where the water and spread out evenly and avoid putting them on slopes where the water will flow downhill away from your irrigation targets.
Another way to handle wind problems is by carefully considering how you will landscape–or re-landscape–a particular area. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that no lawns are adjacent to sidewalks, driveways, roads or anything else you don’t want to get wet. A typical lawn in an especially wind-prone area would best be designed to look something like a golf green surrounded by shrubs.
Designing a lawn in this way would allow you to use sprinklers for the lawn and drip irrigation or bubblers for the shrubs. You can then adjust a sprinkler system to “harness” the wind. Make sure that those sprinklers facing up spray slightly backwards into the wind. That way, the wind blows the water back onto the lawn. Those sprinklers facing down should be adjusted in just the opposite way so that the wind will blow the water slightly downwind. If any water blows outside the lawn area then it doesn’t go to waste.
South Austin Irrigation understands the special needs of Austin–and Texas–landscapers. When you have questions about the best, most cost-efficient ways to water your lawns, shrubs or gardens or need maintenance on your irrigation systems, contact us. We’re the water experts!
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