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.

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.

Schedule an Appointment.

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

Four Commercial Landscaping Trends for 2018

Every year we look forward to upcoming trends in the commercial landscaping world! This year, we wanted to show off some of the trends that you will be seeing in 2018. Below are four of our recommended trends you may want to try on your commercial landscape property.

Green Roofs

As more commercial properties search to find ways to reduce their carbon foot-print, the trend of green roofs has emerged. Green roofs allow projects in high-density areas to be built with a landscape, by partially or completely covering their rooftops in vegetation and plant life. By taking this green initiative, a property can expect to significantly reduce heat loss, filter out storm water, lower energy consumption, and have improved insulation. In addition to being eco-friendly, other benefits include, allowing residents or employees a chance to relax and escape the day-to-day grind, attract an assortment of wildlife and even serve as farm to table gardens for restaurants.

XeriscapeBark

Xeriscaping is another trend that will continue to take off as we go into the new year. The increased frequencies of droughts and scarcity of water has put a spotlight on the importance of xeriscape. Xeriscape landscaping can be the most efficient method for commercial properties to achieve water use reduction and reduce costs. In fact, xeriscape can reduce outdoor water use by as much as 70 percent. Because of this, your commercial landscape property will reduce your water costs. You will also have a well-maintained, beautiful and appealing landscape. For more information on xeriscaping, click here.

Brush Management

For most of the country, this fall has been very dry and the winter months will offer more of the same. This lack of precipitation is a major issue, especially when it comes to wildfires. In fact, according to WX Shift, “since 1970 the annual average number of wildfires larger than 1,000 acres has more than doubled in the western U.S. The typical wildfire season has also stretched by about two and a half months longer over that time”.  Because of this, maintaining the brush on commercial properties is vital to the prevention of wildfires.  On top of this, more and more cities, municipalities and counties have and will continue to establish guidelines and rules for managing brush and reducing fire risk. Click here for tips on how to manage your brush.

Native Plants

Reed GrassThere has been a great interest in finding methods to aid in sustainability and at the same time reduce the property owner’s costs. Due to these needs, the trend of planting native foliage has emerged in the commercial landscape world. One of the main factors leading to native plants becoming such popular alternatives is their ability to thrive without much human intervention. The word “native” means that the plant is indigenous to a certain area. Since native plants are already adapted to the local environment, less water is required as well as a reduction of fertilizers and other lawn care treatments. For a few suggestions of native plants in your area, contact Terracare Associates today. If you are interested in native plants, click here.

 

Quick Landscape Enhancement Projects to do this Fall

Part 5

During the month of August, we will provide you a 5 part series on how to easily create your 2018 budget, with the help of your commercial landscape company. Below are the links to the previous blog posts in this series:

Many enhancement projects to a commercial landscape property are not only a quick and easy way to add curb appeal, but are also a great way to add value to a commercial landscape property. Enhancements serve as a reinvestment in the property’s existing features, upgrading sections of your landscape to improve the overall appeal. This autumn is the perfect time to complete these enhancements and have the property in pristine condition. Here are four great recommendations of enhancements projects to start this Fall:

Mulch

Mulch is any type of material – usually natural – serving as a cover and is spread over the soil. It can take many forms including bark, compost, grass clippings, shredded leaves, and straw. Mulch creates insulation helping reduce water from evaporating off soil thus reducing the need to water plants frequently. In addition, when thoroughly applied to an area, mulch is very effective in minimizing the growth of weeds.  Mulch also adds a sensational pop to the property.

Sustainable landscaping

Xeriscape

Xeriscape is a set of water-wise landscaping and water conservation principles. It’s the idea of maintaining both an appealing landscape through introducing low-water-use plants. With the increase of droughts and water scarcity, xeriscaping has become a very popular enhancement. In fact, in a recent report some xeriscape conversations reduce outdoor water use by as much as 70%.  There’s no better time than the Fall to have a landscape provider identify small areas that can benefit by water-wise planting.

Xeriscape

Planting Perennials

A perennial is a plant that grows for many seasons, unlike an annual which only lasts one season. This enhancement is growing in popularity not only because it’s good for the environment, it also saves money on water costs and requires less time needed for replanting. A great place to incorporate perennials are paths and walkways to ensure that guests enjoy their beauty. Interested in finding out more about perennials options? Click below:

Planting Perennials

Shade Trees

Path

Choosing trees that are known for providing shade and planting them strategically around a property near buildings can save you up to 30% on your heating and cooling costs. In addition, these shade trees can increase the overall attractiveness of the property and allow for an increase foot traffic. To learn more about your shade tree options, click below:

Shade Trees

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.

(see call to action below)

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

 

Tips for Water Wise Landscaping

After an unusually warm and dry winter in many parts of the country, it’s more important than ever to conserve water as summer approaches. What can you do to save your lawn and save money on your monthly water bill? Here are a few easy tips to help you be more water wise with your landscaping.

Drip systemPrevent water evaporation: Water your lawn early in the morning or in the evening, especially during the hot summer months. Never water on windy days. Use drip irrigation systems for bedded plants, trees, or shrubs and use low-angle sprinklers for lawns. Also, be sure to cover pools and spas to prevent loss of water through evaporation.

One inch of water is enough: Just one inch of water each week will keep most grasses healthy. To determine how long you should run your sprinklers — place straight-edged cans at various distances away from each sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill an average of 1 inch of water in each can.

MulchMulch… Mulch… Mulch!: Cover all flower beds and planted areas with mulch. It keeps the soil moist and slows down the evaporation of water from the soil, allowing water to infiltrate it efficiently. Maintain at least a 2 to 4 inch layer of mulch in all planted beds and containers.

Maintain your sprinkler system: Repair any broken, missing or misdirected sprinkler heads. You should also install rain and freeze sensors on your sprinkler system and monitor your total water usage.

Terracare Associates can help with any of your landscaping needs from installing a more efficient irrigation system to laying down mulch in your plant beds. Visit our website to see what we can do for you.

Free Irrigation Audit