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  • Writer's pictureJesica Zebouah

Get control of your irrigation

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

Welcome to the DtE blog, thank you for being here! I've been speaking to clients and colleagues about the same things for years and they always want to know more, so I decided it's time to write it down and share it all more broadly.

Here goes....let's start with something simple but rather urgent, your irrigation system.

Do you know your irrigation schedule?

When it comes on and for how long? If the answer is no and DtE is your maintenance gardener, you're in luck because we are carefully managing the schedule for you. If we aren't managing your property and you don't know about your watering, it's time to blow the dust off your irrigation controller and get to know it (scroll down for more on this).

We're in a drought, a serious one. We don't want you to shut off your irrigation watering (not ideal for fire prevention which I'll get into in a later post), we want you to be aware of it, conserve it and manage it.

When I walk around neighborhoods in the morning, I see a lot of this in the street in front of houses, what's happening here? Is this standing water from rain? Your mind may trick you into believing this, but we haven't had much rain lately! It's either from overwatering the lawn or overspraying from the sprinklers into the street or likely... both!

What needs to happen? The water should be turned on and the sprinklers adjusted so they're not spraying into the street and the watering schedule on the lawn needs to be lowered. Our clay soil in Oakland gets both compacted (lacking air) and saturated (filled with water) so more watering doesn't help and is wasteful. There is a sweet spot of watering enough and not too much. Air on the side of less watering. Maybe you won't have the greenest lawn on the block, but that's not a trending look these days anyway! If your lawn is soggy, mossy, or the dog's paws are soaked from running through it or there's standing water in front of your house, you should reduce your watering.

Your irrigation controller

Whether it's an Irritrol, Hunter, Rachio, Toro, Orbit, Lawn Genie or a battery timer precariously dangling off old plumbing, they're all doing the same thing- turning water on at a certain time, on certain days for a set number of minutes, that's it! So go find your irrigation controller, it's probably on a wall either in your garage, outside on the house or in a laundry/utility room. There are manual and smart timers now, we install both. Here's my favorites (and no I'm not being paid by them....yet....)

This one the left is the Rachio smart controller that runs on an app and offers many great options to avoid water waste.

The one below is the Irritrol Rain Dial you program manually, usually in a dark utility room while standing on a rickety stool because it was installed too high on a wall! Both are reliable and user friendly.

Ok, that's it for our first post! Next week, I'll get into drip vs spray irrigation and show some drought tolerant gardens with serious irrigation design fails (with the best intentions....)

I hope I shed some light on how easy and necessary it is to control your irrigation watering.

Cheers and happy autumn!



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