The real cost of turf irrigation

I have been in the lawn and landscape industry for going on twenty five years now.  An irrigation system can be a frivolous investment if not properly managed.  Based on my experience I would place the percentage of mismanaged irrigation systems around eighty percent.

What you may consider as an investment or a home improvement can actually cost you more in additional headaches then you realize.  Most irrigation companies only want to sell and maintain a system for you.  They also may not be privy to proper turf care.  Lawn and fertilize companies make money diagnosing and correcting diseased grass.  Therefore they either don’t know or may not have your lawns best interests in mind. I have been in business long enough to know there is just as much money to be earned doing things the right way from the start. My approach, as a lawn care provider, is to let my reputation precede me through trust and knowledge.

For a little better understand of how an irrigation system works visit the irrigation page.

Allow me to elaborate.  When I say mismanaged I am referring to over watering.  This creates issues that most property owners are not even aware of.  As a lawn and landscape vender I try, emphasize try, to educate the property owner on proper watering.  Usually it goes unheard.

People assume that if the grass is green and growing it must be healthy.  Which is true to a certain extent.  It’s what’s being overlooked that creates complications.  Some examples.   Why pay a higher then needed water bill?  On average a lawn needs approximately one inch of water/rain a week.  Which works out to 625 gallons per 1000 sq ft.  If you have a small,  10,000 sq ft lawn,  that’s 6,250 gallons per watering cycle.  25,000 gallons  monthly.  If your irrigating at one and half times that rate it works out to 37,500 gallons.  You can incur a rather high water bill.

Another issue I find is when a lawn is too wet it becomes a host for diseases.  I.g  powdery mildew, rust, brown patch, and red tread to name a few.  Such fungus and mildew, if not treated or managed, will stunt the turf growth if not kill it.  Fungicides are not cheap and usually don’t have a very long residuals.   You have incurred another expense.

Visit the turf products page for some chemicals to treat fungus with.

Turf needs to be mowed on a periodic basis.  If it’s over watered or not calibrated correctly damage to the grass is likely if the ground is too soft.  Rutting can then lead to scalping.  Breaks in the turf will lead to weeds.  Once again an unnecessary consequence of too much water.

Lets talk about grass roots.  Too much water and too little time between watering cycles will create a shallow root system.  When the weather becomes hot the grass will endure more stress.  If for any reason your irrigation system goes down you could lose your turf.   A simple lighting strike during a thunderstorm can disable an irrigation system.  A deep root system will protect the turf allowing it to withstand dry conditions and heat.

These are just a few of the top issues created by mismanaged irrigation system.  Same advice.  First focus on developing a strong turf.  This is done by planting a robust seed designed for your area and general weather patterns.  Followed by proper fertilizing schedules.  Let mother nature do most of the work.  It’s ok for the turf to dry out a little and even go dominant.  This will encourage the roots to become more established and grow deeper.

If you have a irrigation system only use it when needed.  When watering it’s best to give your lawn a good does of water at one time verses short watering cycles. Schedule to have you lawn mowed a day before watering.   Early morning just before or at sunrise is the best time to irrigate.   Just because you have a watering system doesn’t mean you have use it every day.

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