sprinklertimer.jpgAutomatic sprinkler systems can make irrigating our landscapes (especially lawns) much easier, and they can also help us water more intelligently. In our area, we are usually encouraged to water lawns early in the morning or late at night. This is simple with a sprinkler system timer that can be set for any time of the day or night. Consistent watering is also important, especially during drought (a.k.a. now), and the timer easily takes of care of making sure your lawn is watered when you are away on vacation. In a previous post, I described rain sensors that can be added to your system so that it won’t run during or immediately after a storm. You can even find sprinkler controllers that incorporate weather sensors that turn the system off during high winds and incorporate local ET data to set sprinkler zone times. (more…)

A couple of weeks ago, I gave a presentation at the 2012 Peak to Prairie Landscape Symposium (“So You Think You Want to Convert Your Kentucky Bluegrass Lawn?”). I started off with a discussion of the precipitation and water situation in our area. People were especially interested in my chart with the precipitation for the Apr – Oct growing season (for lawns anyway) for each year over the past twenty years. I was hoping to send people home with the idea that we certainly cannot expect our “average” annual precipitation (approx 16″ with 12″ coming from rain) each year and that they needed to be more active in deciding how and when to water their yards and gardens. And of course, I wanted to nudge them to consider lower water using lawn options.

Precipitation is of HUGE interest to gardeners, and the following chart illustrates the challenge we are up against in our area. (more…)