When irrigating a lawn, it important to divide the space into zones for proper watering. This will prevent putting too much on some areas, and not enough in other areas. And, it will save you money.

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Watering in the Zone

With an irrigation system, it’s very important in the design and planning process to think about the plant material at the site, and whether you have sun or shade. Then, you should try to zone those groups accordingly.

For example, the turf that I’m standing on should not be watered with the shrubs that are behind me. They have different water requirements. So, the run time should be different for both of them.

If I’m irrigating a small turf area and using a spray sprinkler, it’s a smaller type sprinkler head. They put out a lot more water per unit of time than the rotors here. We certainly don’t want those small-irrigated areas being irrigated at the same time as the other zones, because we’ll waste water.

Where I’m standing now, this is a large turf area. We have three to four zones – when one zone turns on, about three or four rotors will come on and water for a set amount of time. Then, the next zone turns on.

The drip zone behind me is on it’s own special zone. It’s valve is a little bit different. It has a filter and a pressure regulator because we don’t want any clogs in the drip tubing. We also want to reduce the pressure down substantially so that we have an even water distribution. That drip tubing is what we call pressure compensating. We only use a certain length of run. The emitter that is closest to the solenoid or automatic valve is going to put out the same amount of water as the drip emitter at the end of the line. That’s what we call pressure compensating.

We’re trying to group like plants together in like situations so that we can adjust the water accordingly so that we’re not wasting water.

This feature story prepared with Cathie Lavis, Kansas State University Research and Extension Professor of Landscape Management. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.

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