July is Smart Irrigation Month


Whether your business is solely lawn care or you also offer landscape maintenance, one of your main responsibilities is to have lush green grass and healthy plants—while using as little water as you can.

Smart Irrigation Month began in 2006 by the Irrigation Association to bring attention to efficient watering practices, technology advanced irrigation products and water conservation. The month of July was designated because it is a peak month for irrigation. Throughout the month, members of the IA display the Smart Irrigation Month logo and share ways to irrigate more efficiently, as well as highlight the latest innovations in irrigation technology. This year, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a resolution celebrating July 2009 as Smart Irrigation Month and supporting the irrigation industry’s efforts to educate the public about the importance of using water wisely.

Landscape irrigation is considered one of the biggest culprits of wasting water—more than 50 percent of a household’s water goes to maintaining landscapes and lawns—so it’s time to raise your clients’ awareness of doing more with less, and update your own irrigation practices. In fact, overwatering can sometimes have detrimental effects on turf and ornamentals by promoting disease and weak rootzones in turfgrass.

Here are a few steps you can take to reduce the amount of water your clients’ landscapes use:

  • Conduct an irrigation audit of your clients’ landscapes to be sure that the plants are not being overwatered.
  • Install “smart” irrigation controllers, which monitor site conditions and apply the right amount of water based on factors including evaporation, precipitation, plant water use and soil moisture.
  • Divide the landscape into water-use zones so you can vary the amount of irrigation in each zone.
  • Irrigate late in the afternoon, evening or before sunrise to save water from evaporating before reaching plants or turf.
  • Adjust watering schedules every season to account for changing needs.

You should also look into becoming IA certified. As with anything, the more knowledge you have, the more credible you are to your clients—and potential clients. Once you have been certified, you can also become a WaterSense partner. WaterSense is an EPA partnership program to help people choose water-efficient products. As a partner, you are listed on the EPA Web site—making it easy for consumers to find you and know you are certified—you can use the WaterSense partner logo and you have access to resources that help you promote your services.

For more information on irrigation best practices or how to become certified, visit www.irrigation.org. For information on becoming a WaterSense partner, visit www.epa.gov/watersense.

Amy K. Hill