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Archive for the ‘Landscaping’ Category

Drip Irrigation – How to find out if your drip irrigation is working

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Sometimes it is hard for homeowners to determine if their drip irrigation is working.  One common mistake is looking at the surface of the mulch or rock and panicking because there isn’t any sign of water. It is very easy to over water and drown plants, too much water can be just as deadly as too little water.  It is best to leave the clock set for a watering time determined by either the landscaper or the irrigation technician.  If the plants seem like they are not getting enough water follow these steps to see if the system is working.

1. Let the system run and then go outside after it is finished.

2  Pull back the mulch, or rock near the plant.  Preferably a 1′ by 1′ area.

3. Using a spade or your hand, dig down a couple inches in the dirt in several areas.  Is the dirt moist?  If so it is working, remember there shouldn’t be standing water around the plant because you may be over watering the plant.

4.  If the ground is hard or completely dry then your drip might not be working.  There could be several reasons for this and it is best to call an irrigation professional to examine your drip irrigation.

5.  If it is moist but you feel it isn’t getting enough water, it is best to call a landscaper or irrigation specialist and let them determine how much extra water you need.

A Letter to Our Customers

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Dear Customers,

We have to change the way we are watering our landscaping. Most systems need to be updated with new controllers.  Here are some facts concerning most sprinkler systems today.

  • Nationwide, residential outdoor water use exceeds seven billion gallons of water each day, most of which is used for watering our landscaping.
  • Experts estimate that half of this water goes to waste due to evaporation, wind and improperly scheduled run times.
  • There is currently an estimated 13.5 million irrigation systems installed in residential lawns across the United States and an additional three hundred thousand new systems are installed every year.
  • It is estimated that less than ten percent of these units already use water conserving controllers.  This means many systems are wasting water!

The problem

Currently the most common method used to schedule irrigation is a manually programmed clock timer that irrigates a specified amount on a preset schedule program by the user.  Clock timer controllers can be significant source of wasted water, because irrigation schedules are often set to water during the height of the growing season and are not adjusted to actual watering needs. Plant requirements decrease in the fall, many homeowners forget to reset their irrigation schedules, over watering their lawns.

The solution

An alternative to clock timers is weather based controllers.  Weather based controllers can make adjustments to watering times every day. Watering is tailored to the weather conditions and apply water only when the landscaping needs it. This creates a healthier, better looking landscape and saves water and money!

We have seen 25%-40% reduction in water usage after a weather based controller is installed. These devices cost $300-$800 for most systems. On most systems they can save 50,000 to 80,000 gallons of water a year.

It is our goal to get all our customers converted to one of these smart controllers. If all the systems in America had weather based controllers, billions of gallons of water and millions of dollars could be saved.  If you would like more information give us a call at 952-929-1232 or contact us here.

Preventing Evergreen Winter Kill

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Minnesota winter is trying on even the most hearty of people.  It may be even more trying for these people’s most hearty plants and trees.  Anyone who has had to deal with winter desiccation(winter burn) knows that making these plants look healty again can be an agonizing task.  Fortunately, preventing winter burn may be easier than repairing it.

Newly planted evergreens are the most susceptible to winter kill.  This happens when the weather starts warming and the plant starts transpiring water when the ground is still frozen.   The evergreens do not have enough water and can’t get any from the ground causing the trees to get brown spots.  In the past the only option was putting burlap sacks around the trees or protecting them from the wind.  Now there are also several different types of sprays that can be applied to the trees to prevent early transpiration and winter kill.

For more information on how to protect your evergreens, check out this article from South Dakota State’s Horticulture department explaining the causes and laying several solutions to the problem.