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Old 06-25-2009, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,781 posts, read 43,431,207 times
Reputation: 9368

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I'm looking for ideas on how to reduce our landscape irrigation water usage, while keeping the plants and lawn alive. Our water bill is always higher then our electrical bill so we have a good chance of saving some money here as well as conserving resources. I was able to reduce our peak usage by half last year. But the water usage described by other people on this thread is significantly lower then ours so I'm trying to figure out what else I can do.

I turned the watering time way down (6, 8 & 12 minutes, 2 times each week) in the spring of 2008 planning on increasing it as needed. By the end of summer my lawn had 4 dead patches and no longer looked healthy. I clearly didn't turn it up fast enough. I have been nursing it back to health since then and its looking pretty good now, but my watering times have increased to this,
Watering twice a week:
12 minutes for shrub zones with spray heads
12-14 minutes for St. Augustine lawn zones with spray heads
16 minutes for St. Augustine lawn zones with rotary heads

I use the "water budget" feature to reduce the watering times in Fall & Spring, turning it off in Dec. & Jan. I had it set to 70% in May, 80-90% in June and just increased it to 100% for this heat wave.

QUESTION: I read someplace that soil can absorb water better if you set two different watering times, say one at 5 AM and one at 6 AM. This reduces the amount lost to water running off of the soil. So I am currently doing this, but I'm wondering if it doesn't also increase the amount lost to evaporation. My lawn has no areas that run off onto pavement so all of the water is staying on the landscaping. I'm thinking I might be better off with one long watering period rather then two.

What do you think? Any other ideas I should try out?
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Old 06-25-2009, 09:13 PM
 
Location: 78737
346 posts, read 1,314,746 times
Reputation: 162
Call LCRA for a free water checkup. I have had this done and the information they give you is excellent.

http://www.lcra.org/library/media/pu...ionCheckup.pdf
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Old 06-26-2009, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,781 posts, read 43,431,207 times
Reputation: 9368
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zzyzx View Post
Call LCRA for a free water checkup. I have had this done and the information they give you is excellent.

http://www.lcra.org/library/media/pu...ionCheckup.pdf
Thanks, I had the City of Austin do what I assume is a similar Landscape Sprinkler System Audit in spring of last year. They recommended the schedule I started out with (6, 8 & 12 minutes, 2 times each week), that quickly resulted in my lawn getting burnt. It has taken me since then to get it looking healthy again.
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Old 06-26-2009, 10:56 AM
 
Location: 78747
3,202 posts, read 5,123,054 times
Reputation: 915
I hand water only at this point. Eliminate aerial spray as much as possible by pouring water directly onto the lawn. I know you have a sprinkler system, but if your serious about getting your bill down, I would hand water. Personally, I hand-water dry spots and focus more on keeping the trees healthy - their shade is the long term cure for any dead lawn problem. I would also water around late at night as opposed to early morning. The cool morning condensation allows for a period of "recharge" for your lawn anyways, so early morning watering is redundant IMO. This is not scientific, just personal observation.
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Old 06-26-2009, 03:01 PM
 
Location: 78737
346 posts, read 1,314,746 times
Reputation: 162
I had Tom Jackson from LCRA come out to our community. He knows his stuff
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Old 06-26-2009, 03:27 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,781 posts, read 43,431,207 times
Reputation: 9368
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zzyzx View Post
I had Tom Jackson from LCRA come out to our community. He knows his stuff
Thanks, I will give him a call and see if he can do this inside the city limits. If not he may at least answer my questions in a phone call.
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Old 06-26-2009, 04:43 PM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
86,068 posts, read 76,259,334 times
Reputation: 27642
Also, more important than any grass, keep the soil around your foundation from shrinking too much.
Fencelines as well as the shrinking soil can almost spit out the posts
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