Friday, June 5, 2009

Saving water and plants!

Tips that help conserve water and plants

How can you use water responsibly and also maintain a beautiful, healthy yard and garden? These practical tips will help you efficiently accomplish both, leaving you more time to enjoy your landscape. Read on to learn more...

Efficient Water Use Tips for Your Landscape Water wisely.
The efficient way to water is a few times for shorter periods, with 15-minute breaks in between. This allows water sufficient time to soak in and helps prevent wasteful runoff.

Water on time.
The ideal time to water is in the morning between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. Later in the day, water can be wasted due to wind drift and evaporation; watering at night will cause grass to remain wet which can allow fungus to grow.

Water at the roots.
Low-volume drip irrigation is recommended when watering individual trees, flowerbeds, potted containers or other non-grass areas. This efficient method reduces water waste due to evaporation or runoff.

Water by zones.
Divide your landscape into separate irrigation zones. This way grass can be watered separately and more frequently than groundcover plants, shrubs and trees.

Water only what grows.
If you have an automatic sprinkler system, make sure the sprinklers are adjusted properly to avoid the wasteful watering of sidewalks and driveways.

Make inspections. Routinely check your sprinklers to make sure everything is working properly; a clogged sprinkler or a broken line doesn't benefit your landscape or your water bill.

Be flexible. Adjust your automatic sprinkler system as the weather and seasons change. Or better yet, install a shut-off device that automatically detects rain, which allows you to take advantage of the water nature provides without having to pay for it. Be sure to check with your local water agency for any restrictions in watering your yard and garden. To learn more about water-efficient automatic sprinkler systems, or for more water-savings tips, please visit

Please contact us if you have any questions...

WATER SMART: Rain Bird I-Tip: 5 Fast Irrigation Fixes Summer is fast approaching and so is the relentless summer sun that can take a toll on your lawn and garden. A quick, weekly check of your irrigation system will help ensure you don't run into bigger problems later on. Here are a few simple suggestions to help keep your sprinkler system in top shape. After mowing, use the "manual" setting on your sprinkler timer to turn on each sprinkler station for a couple minutes at a time. Then walk around and visually check for these potential problems: Misaligned heads: Adjust any sprinkler heads that may have shifted and are watering the street, patio, sidewalk or driveway. Obstructed heads: Taller grass around sprinkler heads may block your intended spray pattern and prevent water from reaching your lawn or other plants. Make sure you have at least 3- or 4-inch pop-up sprinklers to fully clear taller grass. You may also need to trim back overgrown plant material that may be blocking the spray. Broken parts: Look for parts that may have been broken by lawnmowers or foot traffic. Replace any broken parts, being sure to match the spray pattern and distance for peak performance. Clogged nozzles: Dirt, small rocks or other debris can occasionally clog sprinkler heads. If you notice any heads that appear clogged, simply turn off the zone, unscrew the nozzle, then rinse the nozzle and filter screen in some clean water. Once cleared, replace the nozzle and filter screen, checking to make sure the spray is aligned properly. Head-to-head coverage: For even, efficient watering, each sprinkler's spray should just reach the next sprinkler head. Under-spray may result in dry spots that can eventually turn brown, while over-spray wastes water. Periodically checking your sprinklers to make sure everything is working properly will help keep your landscape looking great all summer long. More great tips can be found at

TEXAS LAWN WATERING GUIDE Did you know? Landscape irrigation can account for more than 50 percent of all the water used in Texas during the summer. Unfortunately, about half of this water is wasted due to over-watering or runoff. Soil type, landscape slope, water requirements of the turfgrass type, and sprinkler efficiency all affect how often you need to water. Established plantings do well in the summer when watered about once a week, especially if mulch is placed around plants. Mulch reduces evaporation of water from the soil and moderates soil temperatures. Low output sprinkler heads, bubblers, or drip irrigation systems will decrease runoff and are efficient ways to apply water. Turfgrass takes on a dull, dark appearance and leaves begin to roll when they need water. Apply enough water to wet the soil to a depth of four to six inches, reaching the plant's root system. Use a soil probe or screwdriver to determine the depth the water actually reaches. The "TEXAS LAWN WATERING GUIDE" Pamphlet contains many tips about things you can do to reduce your water bill... Cinco Ranch MUD #9 and Cinco MUD #1 have arranged to make available, to all Cinco Residents, printed copies of the Water Smart Pamphlets in the lobby of the Associations Office. Please contact us if you have any questions... [Photo] Be Water Smart Lawn Watering Guide Pamphlet

[Photo] Helping Stressed Plants When a plant is struggling, often times gardeners mistakenly believe that it is because the plant is not receiving enough water. This is not always the case, as plants can also suffer due to excessive water, sudden weather changes or soil problems. Read on to learn how to identify the signs of plant stress... A plant's leaves provide the first and most obvious signs that something might be wrong. Here are some tips to help you interpret what your plants are trying to tell you: Wilted Foliage Wilted foliage usually means the plant is short of water, but that is not always the case. Roots growing in soil that is too wet can also cause wilting. Adjust your sprinkler system so that the plants receive adequate but not excessive water. Throughout the spring and summer months, make sure to keep a close eye on plants that have exhibited symptoms of over watering. Warning signs include excessively moist soil surrounding the root zone, mushrooms growing in turf or flower beds and excessive moss growth. Also, remember that plants of different ages require different levels of water. Young plants may require daily watering in the soil immediately surrounding the base of the plant. Conversely, mature trees and shrubs should not be watered near the trunk, as this may lead to root and crown disease. Mature plants should be watered as needed and moderately beneath the plants' canopy, with the sprinklers spraying water away from the tree's trunk. Dropping Leaves Drying and falling leaves on the inside of evergreens indicate they are aging and giving up nitrogen to the younger leaves. You'll see this on olives, oleanders, pines and most evergreen bushes. It may also indicate the leaves are not getting enough sunlight, or the plant suffered through a dry spell or shock after transplanting. As trees age, leaves do drop more. To address this issue, you may want to add supplements to your soil - consult your local nursery as to which fertilizers would work best for your soil type and plant material. Brown, Dead Leaves Leaves with brown and dead edges may suggest excess salts in the soil due to poor drainage or compacted soil, which is very common in the Western part of the U.S. Aerating and adding appropriate amounts of soil supplements may help your turf and plants recover from an imbalance in your soil - but consult a gardener before attempting to solve any potential soil problems. Dead leaves suggest that the plant may have been stressed for water on a hot, dry, windy day. Dead spots on top of leaf centers, especially the exposed leaves, may also suggest sun burning. This can happen when the plant is hot and stressed for moisture, even if just for a few minutes. A little extra spot watering with a water wand in the stressed areas can help plants and grasses recover without over watering the other regions in the zone. Dull or Bluish Leaves Small leaves that are dull or bluish usually tell you that plants are struggling for water. This is especially true in lawns. This condition could be due to a long stretch of hot weather, or simply that your landscape is not receiving sufficient water for its needs. Adjust your irrigation timer to provide more water to zones that appear stressed, but exercise caution to prevent over watering and possible runoff. Remember to adjust your timer back to lower levels after the hot weather has passed. PLEASE SHOW SUPPORT FOR THE WATER SMART PROGRAM BY DISPLAYING A DECAL IN THE BACK WINDOW OF YOUR CAR. CONTACT CINCO MUD #9 FOR A FREE DECAL.


Many Texas water utilities charge higher rates during the summer or increase rates in increments based on use. Reducing your outdoor water use by following these steps can produce substantial savings in your water bill. Determine how much water your landscape needs to stay healthy

Use water-wise landscape maintenance practices such as proper mowing, mulching, and moderate fertilizing.Minimize water evaporation by using the most efficient equipment for each situation and keep the equipment well-maintained.

Design a water-wise landscape by planting drought-tolerant plants that are native or well adapted to the Texas climate. This pamphlet will answer these questions... When should I water? How often should I water? How long should I water? What should I water? How long should my grass be?

The "WATER CONSERVING TIPS" Pamphlet contains many tips about things you can do to reduce your water bill... Don't over water your lawn. One inch of water per week in the summer will keep most Texas grasses healthy. To determine how long you should run your sprinklers, place straight-edged cans at different distances away from the sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill an average of 1 inch of water in each can. (one or two pound coffee cans are perfect, but any size will work) Use lots of mulch around your shrubs and trees. It will retain moisture, reduce run-off, moderate soil temperatures and help with weed control.

BE WATER SMART INDOORS Why? According to the Texas State Water Plan, Texas' existing water sources will meet only 75 percent of the projected water demand by 2050. Single-family residential indoor water use in the U.S. is an average of 69 gallons per person per day. You can easily save 20 gallons per person per day by just installing water efficient fixtures and reducing leaks, Practicing good water use habits can save even more. Using water more efficiently will also save energy and money, and protect the quality of life for future generations. We must be responsible and save water now.

Irrigating Trees Having a few trees in your yard is more than just a great way to beautify your landscape.

Trees also provide shade which helps keep your yard cool, so your lawn, plants and flowers need less watering.

Trees are frequently overlooked when planning an irrigation system. It is a common misconception that tree roots will naturally “grow towards water.”

On the contrary, tree roots do not grow through dry soil. They require proper watering that encourages roots to grow deep and spread out to provide a sturdy base for the tree. Here are a few irrigation tips to help keep your trees healthy and vibrant:

*In general, trees should be watered enough to penetrate the soil to a depth of at least 18 inches. The type of tree and the season will determine your watering schedule. Check with a professional landscaper if you're unsure how much water the trees in your landscape require.

*Proper watering of new trees is very important, especially during the first year after planting. New trees require more water at the base than established trees, since new trees have not yet spread their roots out into the surrounding soil.

If you have just planted a new tree, you should completely soak the root ball and the area beneath the canopy when you water. Make a basin by mounding up a ring of dirt around the tree to help direct water towards the root ball. Unlike newly planted grass, trees should be watered for longer periods of time, but the watering should occur less frequently. The longer soaking will reach deeper into the soil which encourages a deeper, drought-resistant root zone. It is important to remember that too much water can kill a tree as easily as too little water. Overwatering prevents tree roots from getting the oxygen they need to stay healthy. Make sure the root area is moist, but do not let the tree stand in water for more than a couple of hours before it soaks in. If you have heavy clay soil, mix some coarse compost into the soil, or raise the area to improve drainage. For established and mature trees, proper irrigation continues to be important. As a tree matures, you should stop watering directly onto the base of the tree and expand the watering zone out around the tree. One way to effectively meet a tree’s watering needs is to use drip irrigation around the tree reaching out as far as the canopy. By expanding the irrigation in a loop around the tree, you will be encouraging the tree to develop an expansive and healthy root system. We hope you've found this tip useful. For additional information, take a look at the following pages of Rain Bird's website: Please show support for the Water Smart program by displaying a decal. Contact Cinco MUD #9 for a free decal.

[Photo] Installing an invisible drip system [Photo]Drip irrigation for potted plants is surprisingly simple to install and can offer a more efficient and convenient watering solution. A well designed drip system will save water, save time and prevent waste. Read on for a step-by-step guide to see just how easy it is to install drip irrigation on a patio or deck. 6 easy steps to efficiently water potted patio plants. Efficiently watering potted plants on decks and patios has been a challenge for homeowners, contractors and designers for years. In the past, people may have avoided drip, fearing it was too difficult and complex to install in patio applications. Often they used traditional spray systems, which may have resulted in overwatering and runoff leading to property damage. The other popular choice has been manual watering with hoses and watering cans, however these were inconvenient and time consuming. The Benefits of Drip A drip system installed on a deck or patio is virtually invisible and hassle-free. Other benefits include: Healthier, more vibrant plants, reducing runoff and puddling regular, consistent watering,

Reduced water bills, No unsightly hoses Installing an Invisible Drip System in 6 Easy Steps Step 1: Install a 1/4" barb connector into the main drip line.
Step 2: Attach 1/4" tubing to the 1/4" connector and run to the pot.
Step 3: Insert 1/4" tubing through the bottom of an empty pot.
Step 4: Attach a 1/4" tee to the 1/4" line, leaving two ends open.
Step 5: Attach 1/4" Landscape Drip line (length equal to the pot diameter) around the plant stem onto the open ends of the barb tee.

Step 6: Insert the plant into the pot and fill with soil, making sure to keep the Drip line ring above the soil. Lay the Drip line ring on top of the soil around the plant. Add mulch to cover if desired

You now have a virtually invisible drip system for watering your patio pots without hoses or puddles.