Texas A&M researchers have looked at how your lawn can survive best during times of water restriction and what kind of irrigation setup is best. While they have concluded that you cannot keep the kind of lush, green lawn you might want, it is entirely possible to have your lawn survive with the right kind of watering.
The study was done at the Texas A&M Turfgrass Field Lab in College Station. Irrigation timing and sprinkler-head types were compared so that they could produce some guidelines on how to maintain a healthy lawn with only watering two days per week. The project started with a six turf plots seeded with St. Augustine and Bermuda grasses back in fall 2010. All of the plots were watered with a total of one inch of water each week with half the plots on a two-day schedule and the balance getting the water over four days.
This year, all of the plots, went onto a two-day schedule with the total amount of water delivered reduced (down to 1/4″ and 1/3″ each watering day). Various sprinkler heads were also tested – MP rotator, rotors, sub-surface drip and spray.
The study had several conclusions:
1. If your lawn starts out healthy, it will survive with less water. But it must start out healthy.
2. Drip irrigation is the best kind of irrigation system. Then in order of performance came spray heads, the MP rotator heads, and last, rotor heads.
3. Any irrigation system needs to be adjusted so there is no overspray onto walkways, driveways, etc. It is estimated that poorly adjusted systems can lose up to 50% of the water through runoff.
4. The timing of the water is important. In cities, there are no restrictions on how much water is used, only the times you can water. But if too much water is put on, this is inefficient and much is lost to runoff.
The Texas A&M experts suggested a cycle-soak system in which “a small amount of water is applied and allowed to soak in and then a second amount is applied and allowed to soak in, thus minimizing runoff of the valuable water and nutrients that might be applied to the grass.”
5. Homeowners need to keep on top of their irrigation system. They need to check how it is performing regularly.
6. The study also found that “brown does not always equal dead.” The good news is that the grasses go dormant due to the lack of water and even if some brown is there, will respond to rain, particularly if the grass was healthy to start.
If you need your irrigation system checked out and properly adjusted, South Austin Irrigation is the right place to call. We look forward to helping homeowners keep their lawns and property in the best of shape despite water restrictions. Please give us a call to service your system today.