Monday, April 14, 2008

Hand Watering versus an Automatic Sprinkler System

I received this email from Claire:


I found your profile online and with your experience I hope you can answer a question for me.

To be environmentally responsible, especially in Florida where water is precious, would it not be more responsible to have a water irrigation system installed to control water output to a garden, opposed to using a garden hose that is manually operated?

I have a debate with a subdivision and do not understand their logic, so would much appreciate your opinion.

Well Claire, as with most questions, it depends on other considerations.

In general, people with automatic sprinkler systems waste more water on their lawn than those who do not. The reason for this is the "set it and forget it" mentality. In a nutshell, if you have to drag a hose around to water the garden, you will wait until the plants need it because it is a pain-in-the-neck. If you have an automatic system, it will probably turn on and water only because it is Thursday, regardless of the need. Watch the video how long to water your lawn for more information.

A well designed irrigation system (most are not) if more efficient than a hose over a large area. If you are only watering a hundred square feet a hose is just fine.

Then there is the plant type factor. If low water use plants are grouped with high water use plants, an automatic system will water them all. A hose can pick and choose the plants that are thirsty.

Because you a watering a "garden", I suggest visiting the Florida Native Plant Society for ideas on low water use plants. That way after the plants have rooted, you will not need a hose or a sprinkler system.

I hope this helps with your decision.

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