The Benefits of Drip Irrigation

High summer heat can severely affect our trees, shrubs and turf grasses. With the climbing temperatures comes higher water costs. If you are a commercial property manager looking for ways to keep your landscape healthy and costs down, drip irrigation is your answer.

What is drip irrigation?

Drip irrigation is a low volume watering system that applies a small amount of water directly to plants over a period of time.

The benefits of drip irrigation:

Plant health

Landscape experts agree that low volume irrigation systems promote plant health by reducing changes in soil moisture levels. Drip irrigation can also be beneficial in avoiding plant diseases by limiting the amount of water on the plant’s foliage. A properly designed drip irrigation system will deliver water to your landscape at a uniform soil depth. This will bring the water to the root zone instead of to the surface of the planted area.

Water waste

Water is applied where it is most needed and is not wasted on unplanted areas or on streets and sidewalks.  Since the drip system is located closer to the root, little water is lost in evaporation. As a result, this process makes it extremely effective in controlling landscape water usage.

Maintenance costs

Another benefit of drip irrigation is lower maintenance costs. Because sprinkler systems can spray water onto unplanted areas, property managers must factor in the cost of eroded walkways and pavement, rotted wood fences, and peeling paint and plaster.

A properly designed and installed drip irrigation system can be a low cost and low maintenance option for many property owners. Contact the irrigation specialists at Terracare Associates to make healthy landscape changes that will meet all of your drip irrigation needs.

Drought Conditions? Try Xeriscaping

As a commercial property owner, you are always striving to keep your landscape in immaculate condition despite the circumstances. With projected drought conditions for much of the western United States, this will be a struggle. However, the idea of xeriscaping, which is, the practice of conserving water through strategic landscaping, may be your solution. While not a new concept, the increased frequencies of droughts and water scarcity has put a spotlight on the importance of xeriscape and its capabilities of reducing water while maintaining a beautiful and appealing landscape. Here are some of the benefits you can gain by incorporating xeriscaping practices into your property.

10NorthCityReclamationPlant_previewLessens Water Usage

When drought conditions are present, the main concern for any commercial landscape owner will be cutting back the usage of water. Property owners that chose to xeriscape will be able to reduce water usage as much as 70 percent. To make this reduction possible, begin with careful planning and designing of your landscape. This ensures that not only water efficiency is achieved, but also maximizes the survival of carefully chosen plants. It is also important to include correct mulch, rocks, and composted soil into your landscape plan. These steps will help reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation, which then limits water usage. Another vital xeriscape procedure is to choose plants that require low amounts of water. These plants can range from native plants to non-invasive plants that are well adapted to our local region’s climate. To learn more about native plant options click here.

Increases Property Value

One of the foremost concerns that will often arise when drought conditions are present is being able maintain an appealing landscape. The dryness and lack of water from the drought will unfortunately turn your property into dried out shades of yellow or brown. When the health and beauty of your landscape suffers, it can reflect poorly and may decrease the value of the property. However, a xeriscaped commercial property will offer a beautiful landscape year round.

What’s next?

Are you a commercial property owner in need of more information of xeriscaping or transitioning your landscape? Contact your Terracare expert for all your xeriscaping needs.

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5 Steps to Tune-Up Your Irrigation this Spring

The sun is out and shining, the weather is warming up and the ground is thawing out. There is no better time than springtime to ensure that your commercial landscape property’s sprinkler system is ready for the rest of the year. By following these few simple steps you will be able to save money, prevent water loss and avoid a mid- summer landscape disaster! Start your warm watering season off the right way by following these easy steps:

Lone Tree Plaza-21. Don’t Jump the Gun

By starting your property’s irrigation system too early, you risk damaging the pipes, especially if the ground is still too hard. It is important to make sure that the soil at your commercial property is not still frozen. To do this you will want to take your shovel and push it down at least twelve inches. If it’s tough to do so or the ground is rock solid, it is a good idea to wait a week and try again.

2. Check the Controller

Now is the time to evaluate the irrigation controls and programs of your irrigation systems. It has been months since your commercial property’s irrigation system has been used. Many things could have happened to the controls during the colder months. It is important to make sure that the date and time are accurate, the setting fits correctly and that the back-up battery is up to date. We suggest that your irrigation system’s back-up battery be replaced every six months for optimal use.

3. Unhindered Flow

Over the course of a winter, debris can cover up your commercial property’s sprinkler heads. If unchecked, substances such as dirt, branches or rocks can lead to wasted water and an unhealthy landscape. It is very important to thoroughly inspect the commercial property’s sprinkler heads and remove any barrier that may be blocking the spray.

Irrigation4. Replace Damaged Parts

Was one of your property’s sprinkler heads run over by a lawn mower? Perhaps a community dog is pulling out the sprinkler heads. Sprinkler heads and valves are made to endure normal wear and tear; however, it is best to be ready for the occasional mishap. Springtime is the perfect time to address and repair these broken irrigation parts. By doing this you can prevent over watering which will wreak havoc on your plants and your water bill. Contact Terracare Associates trained and certified irrigation technicians to schedule any irrigation concerns or repairs.

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5. Check the Pressure

Now it is time to turn the main water valve back on. However, it is crucial to ensure that the water pressure is at a safe operating range for your irrigation system. If your commercial landscape property’s irrigation system is too high it can result in damages. A few examples of the potential damages could include cracked pipes, busted valves, sprinkler head leaks and inefficient watering. To counterattack any of these damages we recommend having your system at an operating range between 40-65 PSI.

What’s Next?

At Terracare Associates, we recommend performing a regular irrigation system audit. Your irrigation systems should be regularly inspected for leaks, broken sprinkler heads, or other damaged components. During our regular inspections, we evaluate pressure and adjust it as needed so your sprinklers work at the optimal level to distribute the water. To schedule an audit from one of our trained irrigation techs please fill out the form below:

Free Irrigation Audit

Is Your Property’s Irrigation System Wasting Money?

It’s HOT!  Don’t send money down the drain! Your landscape provider can help you maintain and monitor your property’s automated irrigation system to ensure this is the most efficient way of watering your landscape. Having a properly maintained irrigation system is also one of the best ways to minimize water waste and lower overall watering costs.

Smart scheduling saves water

An irrigation controller can help monitor your system’s watering schedule to fit \ the watering needs of your property.  Here is what your landscape provider is looking to do:

  • Setting the timer for early in the morning or in the evening can minimize water evaporation by up to 30%.
  • irrigationA rain or soil moisture sensor controller to monitor and adjust your watering schedule regularly and based on seasonal weather conditions and other factors. Weather-based controllers automatically adjust the irrigation schedule as weather conditions change.
  • Consider the amount of sun, shade, and wind exposure on the plants and schedule individual zones to be most efficient. The type of soil will also affect how much water can be absorbed without runoff. The landscape provider will evaluate the setting to the irrigation system to run for three or four short intervals, allowing time between each for the water to soak more deeply into the soil.
  • Checking often on the sprinkler heads to ensure they are set properly to avoid watering driveways, sidewalks, or buildings.

 

Regular irrigation system maintenance saves water.

Like any other mechanical system, the irrigation system also needs regular maintenance to keep it working efficiently. Parts will break or wear out and must be replaced. An older system may not be able to handle the needs of a new landscape design or other changes to your property.

Retrofit the system with a rain or soil moisture sensor to prevent over watering. Rain sensors stop the system from operating when it rains; soil moisture sensors use long metal probes to measure moisture at the root zone and turn the system off when no additional water is needed, this is highly encouraged for water conservation practices.

At Terracare Associates, we recommend performing a regular irrigation system audit. Your irrigation systems should be regularly inspected for leaks, broken sprinkler heads, or other damaged components. During our regular inspections, we evaluate pressure and adjust it as needed so your sprinklers work optimally to distribute the water.

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Free Irrigation Audit

How to Improve Your Property’s Irrigation System on any Budget

Today, commercial property managers aim to have sustainable landscapes that enhance the look of their property without overusing precious resources, such as water.. Time and budget constraints can often limit plans to completely overhaul your landscape irrigation system. However, you might be able to make some of the needed improvements in incremental steps.

Implementing just a few of these suggestions each year can make a significant impact on your irrigation system, watering costs and your landscape’s appearance. Our staff at Terracare recommends the following solutions and best practices:

Step 1 – Simple and low cost solutions

  • Use mowers with mulching blades on turf areas– do not bag grass clippings or leaves.Coneflower
  • Implement an integrated pest management program
  • Mulch beds with 2-3 inches of organic material to prevent weeds and hold moisture near the root zone of the plants.
  • Use water-wise perennial and native plants
  • Perform turf aeration – pull plugs out of the soil throughout the turf to get more oxygen and water to the root system.
  • Install rain and freeze sensors on your irrigation system to avoid unwanted or unsafe watering.
  • Perform regular irrigation system check-ups, looking broken sprinkler heads, clogged lines and other problem areas.

Step 2 –Moderate cost solutions

  • Sub-metering your irrigation system will allow you to better track water usage and remove water waste costs from your irrigation bill.
  • Shred and reuse all organic materials and landscape trimmings as mulch or compost.
  • Conduct an irrigation audit to determine your water usage.
  • Replace rotor spray nozzles with stream spray nozzles to reduce water runoff.

 

Step 3 – High impact solutions

Some solutions cost more, however, the long-term gains in efficiencies, water conservation and significant reductions in water costs is well worth the investment.

  • Install a drip irrigation system throughout the property Drip system
  • Consider an irrigation supply system that uses captured rainwater, gray water or onsite treated waste water.
  • Install an ET controller, equipped with weather station monitoring – this better controls when and how much the irrigation system operates.

These are just a few suggestions that you can implement to improve your irrigation system.

For more information about ways you can make improvements on your landscape irrigation system, contact Terracare Associates by visiting our website.

Terracare Associates’ irrigation experts are state-licensed technicians, trained to provide watering programs based on the varying needs of plants and planting environments. We design irrigation programs that are tailored to the client’s water use budget, while protecting their landscape investments.

Free Irrigation Audit

 

What You Should Know About Retention and Detention Ponds

It’s the middle of summer with hard – dry baked ground surface flash floods and runoff are a likely threat to commercial and public properties. How do you best control and protect your property from heavy rains? In more susceptible flood areas of your property, creating retention and detention ponds can be very effective. These depressions in your property are designed to help minimize the effects and possible damage by heavy rainfall, snow melt and sudden downpours that cause flooding. They help capture runoff that could otherwise damage your well-maintained landscape.

 

The Definitions

Retention ponds are wet ponds. Typical characteristics include water in the depressed area and steep side banks. Detention ponds are traditionally dry except during flooding weather to help control and manage the movement and settling of water. In some instances, detention ponds are used as a park during dry weather.

 

Maintenance

Both areas require much of the same maintenance to assure they properly function as they were designed. Both ponds need to be mowed regularly – keeping grass to a height of four to six inches to ensure healthy growth and minimize weeds. Dumping of grass clippings and other items should be discouraged. Herbicides should be used sparingly or not at all, as they could be washed downstream and create toxic conditions. Special care needs to be given to pipes or channels leading in or out of the ponds. Removal of trash and debris are crucial steps to make sure the proper drainage flow is maintained. Plugged channels can create erosion in other areas of the pond causing the integrity of the structure to fail, resulting in greater damage.

Detention ponds often have sediment that settles at the bottom of a pond that needs to be removed once the pond has dried.

Retention ponds tend to need more monitoring because of their purpose – holding water. Slopes of retention ponds need to be checked for erosion at least once per year, and more frequently if the season has been unusually wet. In retention ponds, floating litter, algae and shoreline erosion are common, as well as stagnant water producing odors and breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Sediment build up needs to be documented as the removal process is much more difficult. These conditions require ongoing monitoring and maintenance plans.

 

Checklist

We compiled a quick checklist to monitor and properly maintain retention and detention ponds and we can offer this service as part of our base maintenance contract if needed:

  • Routine inspections to evaluate damage to slopes, channels, and outfall structures performed annually and after major precipitation – heavy rainfall, flooding, and snow melt.
  • Vegetation management to maintain native plant growth at a healthy height (four to six inches) and limited or no use of herbicides.
  • Trash, litter and debris removal – paying particular attention to inflow and outflow points and devices.
  • Check equipment of all mechanical devices including fence gates, pumps or valves.

 

Retention and detention structures were built for the purpose to protect from flooding and to aid in the capture of water runoff from heavy rain or snow falls. When maintained properly, retention and detention ponds minimize the effects and help maintain a protected and beautiful landscape.