Harvesting Rainwater to Combat Drought-Your Garden Thanks You!

Each year that goes by seems to bring more drought problems. Reservoirs are dwindling, rivers are drying up, forest fires are popping up in places that they haven’t been in years. There just might be something to this “global warming” business.

In the meantime government regulations are putting the damper on watering your lawn and garden with city water, some areas even restrict watering your lawn and garden with well water. So how do we keep our beloved plants alive? There might be an answer in harvesting rainwater.

 

rainwater harvesting barrell

Rainwater Harvesting Barrell

Lots of people are already catching rainwater to use in varying amounts now. Some simply catch a 35 gallon drum full to water their potted patio plants. When that runs out, they go back to using their city water, but even then, that’s 30 gallons of water that were saved. If all of us saved just that much each month, we would collectively save millions of gallons of water a year.

Where to start? First, you need something for rain water to run off of to catch it, usually your roof. Then, you simply catch that rainwater at the downspouts and send it to a collection barrel, tank or cistern. Depending on how elaborate you want to get, you can do this without even having any electricity involved just letting gravity work to use the collected water.

In the simplest of systems, a barrel is placed under a downspout to catch the water, and a rain diverter is attached to the downspout, then  a  hose spicket is attached to the bottom of the drum to access the stored water for watering your plants. Keeping the drum up off the ground a couple of feet allows gravity to work for you.

rainwater collection system

rainwater collection system

 

In more elaborate systems, in-ground storage tanks are used to store the water and electric pumps are then needed to lift the water out to pump it through hoses to use it. These systems can run into the thousands of dollars to build. What your needs will be will most likely fall somewhere between these. The diagram below shows a simple system with a couple of plastic barrels placed under a downspout. The two drums are connected by a piece of pipe that allows both drums to fill up with only one being under the downspout. You could feasibly connect as many barrels together as you want to increase your storage.

Rainwater can even be collected, filtered and run through an ultra-violet sterolizer that will make the water potable. These systems can get into several thousands of dollars, but if you live out in the middle of nowhere, and “off grid”, then it is a viable source for water.

The University of Arizona has a good article on building rainwater collection systems.

No matter how elaborate you want to get, collecting rainwater just makes good sense! Reducing your water bill is just the beginning, helping to conserve water and being able to grow plants when you couldn’t before because of lack of water are just bonus reasons.

Some municipalities, States and Fed. governments will allow credits for installing certain systems that meet minimum criteria. Here is some more information from the National Conference of State Legislatures .

Here are a few products that will get you up and running to collect some rainwater and keep your plants happy.

 

 

Winterize Your Irrigation System to Prevent Damage

Winter is going to be here before you know it, now is the time to plan for winterizing your sprinkler system (irrigation system). Most irrigation systems will retain a small amount of water in the lateral lines, even if you have automatic drain back valves installed. And the valve boxes are all

irrigation system automatic drain back valve

An automatic drain back valve in an irrigation system. It helps to eliminate water from standing in the system

susceptible to freezing because they are exposed to the elements except for a thin plastic lid. If a valve freezes and breaks, it is usually an expensive repair.

 

Winterizing your system is usually going to require having the installer, or a qualified Landscape Professional, that has knowledge about the operation of an irrigation system, pumps that pump out of the lake for water source, and all of the different timers, valves and related systems that make up an irrigation system, to do it for you. A properly installed irrigation system is quite complex and needs the expertise of someone that has done it for years to service it for you.

LawnMasters has been installing and maintaining irrigation systems for 26 years. One of the first systems we installed was on Kentucky Lake for a nice lady who had recently lost her husband. He had started building an irrigation system, but passed away before he could complete it.

We completed the system for her in 1990, and it is still being used today.

Winterizing an irrigation system involves hooking an air compressor up to the system, utilizing a couple of different options, then charging the system with air pressure to blow the water out of the system.

Winterizing an irrigation system

An irrigation head blowing out any water in the line during winterization

Two problems can surface during this action, one is the system can be damaged if too much air pressure is applied to it. Or second, the system can still be damaged by freezing water if all of the water is not purged from the system. Again, knowledge is king when servicing a system that costs thousands to install.

Once we have the system winterized, we turn it off and put it to bed for the season, ready to be started when needed in Spring, protecting your valuable irrigation system and your investment.

When Spring comes, the system should be ready to just turn on the water, adjust your automatic timer and let it take off again.

When should you have your irrigation system winterized? It depends on what part of the US you are in, when your expected first freeze will be, and if you are doing Fall seeding.

Obviously, the farther North you are, the sooner you will have to winterize your system, an easy rule is to have it done prior to the expected date of your first freeze. If you are done using your system for the year, go ahead and schedule to have it done, or do it yourself if you are able. There is no benefit in waiting, and, if you wait until the last minute before the first expected freeze, you may not be able to get on the schedule to get it done in time.

New Sod, Irrigating

New Sod Being Watered

If you are doing some Fall overseeding, aeration and seeding or have installed sod, you may need to wait until the last minute. Still, if you are planning on waiting right up until the last day or so before freeze is expected, go ahead and call to get on the winterizing schedule and you can still get it done.

The first freeze usually isn’t the killer freeze that damages a lot of water pipes. The first time it freezes, the ground is still above freezing and the temps usually don’t drop that far below freezing, and most components will not freeze.

But after the ground gets cold enough, and the daytime temps stop getting warm enough to keep the ground warm, a moderate freeze can do major damage to the system.

If you have the knowledge and equipment, you can winterize your irrigation system yourself. If you don’t, or you’re not quite sure how to go about it, give us a call, it’s not that expensive and can save you hundreds of dollars in repair bills come Spring time.

If you need help with winterizing your system, you can contact us a number of ways

Call us at 731.642.2876 or 888.664.LAWN

Email us

Or stop in and see us at 124 Whitlock Rd., Puryear, TN.

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Fall: Your Lawn and Landscape Still Needs Water

AS Fall sets in, many homeowners are tired of dealing with all of the plants outside that need watering, the lawn that needs water, flowers, and trees that have taken so much of your time throughout the Summer. But don’t quit just yet!

Tired of watering

Fall is supposed to bring the much-needed rain and cooler temperatures, but as the temps cool off, the rain doesn’t always come. Much of the US is under drought conditions now, many areas are in severe drought and the Fall rains have yet to come. Many plants in our area are showing signs of drought and wilting. If they don’t get any water they will suffer going into dormancy, and may not come out of it next Spring.

Dogwood wilting

So if you’re in an area that allows watering, don’t give up on the watering chores just yet. Many plants are busy storing reserves to help make it through the Winter. Water is needed at the end of the growing season in order for the plants to make their reserves. Keep up the watering through Oct. or until the regular rains come. Your plants will thank you!

How much water is needed is dependent on the type of plant, the size of the plant, if it’s located in the sun or shade, and a few other factors. The basic rule of thumb is to simply keep the planter, pot, or ground moist around it. It doesn’t have to be soaking wet unless you’re just going to soak them once a week and let them dry out. That approach is fine, or you can water a few times a week, just giving enough water to bring the soil back to moist.

How you water is up to you, using a water hose and hand sprayer, a stationary water sprinkler that you have to move periodically, or my best suggestion is to have an automatic sprinkler system. They can be expensive, but so can replacing several plants each year.

For free estimates on sprinkler systems and free lawn and landscape analysis call our office or check our website for more information.

Irrigation system/sprinkler system

An Automatic Irrigation System watering Zoysia

Watering regularly until the plants go dormant this Fall will help them bounce out of dormancy next Spring, and might even keep some of them from dying. Some varieties of plants can be damaged possibly beyond recovery if they are left to the chances of Mother Nature.

Remember how excited you are in Spring when the temps start warming, the flowers start coming out and the grass starts greening up? Keep that thought for a couple more weeks, and remember that what you do for your plants this Fall will pay off next Spring!

I Didn’t Know I Had To Water It!!??

zoysiairrYep, we here this all the time. A person goes to the trouble and expense to call a professional Lawn and Landscape Company out to give an estimate, draw up a design, implement the design and get the property looking great. Then we get a call a month later saying that plants are dying, or the new sod is yellow.

Upon inspection we find the plants are wilted and the grass is crunchy dry from no water. And yes, we hear this “I didn’t know I had to water it”. And this is after they were told to water, and left instructions on how to properly water. Do you feed and water your baby? Do you feed and water your kitten, your puppy? How about your house plants? Your horse, cattle or any living breathing thing?

Then yes you have to water your lawn and landscape. It amazes me that some people will go to the trouble and expense to have a home Landscaped, but then be too lazy to water their investment.

We have instructions on how to water newly sodded or seeded lawns and newly installed Landscapes on our website Here Lawnmasters Website

If you don’t have the energy to drag hoses around and manually water your new investment, we can install an automatic irrigation system before the Lawn and Landscape is installed. This way it’s automatic. And there’s no excuse anymore on why you didn’t water. Call for a free estimate for a system to go with your new Lawn and Landscape 888-664-5296