Tips & Advice
How do you perform an irrigation system performance check?
To implement an irrigation-system performance check, audit all parts of the irrigation system. Pay special attention to aspects that can cause irrigation problems, such as sprinkler spacing, nozzle pressure, or tilted sprinkler heads. Set up catch devices at various points to measure the amount of water being distributed. It's best to conduct the audit during normal operating conditions.
What type of irrigation system is the most efficient?
The most efficient system for watering plants is drip irrigation. This system delivers water slowly and frugally, and it uses a fraction of the water consumed by alternatives such as overhead spray devices. Drip irrigation is a good choice for clay soils, since the system's slow delivery gives this soil type enough time to fully absorb the water.
What is a drip irrigation system?
With a drip-irrigation system, water is delivered directly to the roots of the plants using a network of pipes and tubing valves. Drip irrigation minimizes evaporation and water runoff, and it provides a slow but steady supply of water to plants. The tubing used in this type of irrigation system is quite versatile, and it can easily be adjusted to fit the shape of irregular patches of land.
What are the different types of irrigation systems?
There are many different types of irrigation systems, and they vary based on how the water is distributed to the land. With surface irrigation, there is no mechanical pump used; instead, water is distributed solely with the help of gravity. Other types include drip irrigation, localized irrigation, sprinkler irrigation, and manual irrigation.
What is the best way to get rid of weeds?
There are many ways to get rid of weeds – the most extreme methods being yanking them out at the roots and spraying them with weed killer. People who don’t like to use chemical weed killers often use vinegar instead.
Some who don’t like to spray anything potentially harmful to their plants might use more targeted solutions, like burning them (just one pass with a weed scorcher will suffice; do not attempt to start a fire). Keep in mind the burning method is not recommended in dry and/or windy areas of the country. Other methods include scalding weeds with boiling water, or suffocating weed-overtaken areas with thick layers of paper weighed down by mulch, so the weeds can’t reach sunlight.
How deep should mulch be applied?
Apply about a 3-inch deep mulch layer the first time--keeping in mind that the depth might be less if you use a fine mulch. If replacing the mulch in planting beds, the mulch layer should be 2-3 inches deep if you apply it annually, or 3-5 inches if the mulch hasn’t been applied in two years or more.
What is the best type of landscaping for hot climates?
For hot climates, the best landscaping requires little water. Cacti and succulents are very popular. So is the “Mediterranean-style” garden, which features sun-tolerant flowering plants, shrubs, and ornamental grasses.
Many perennials can thrive in a hot, dry summer--for example, a rainbow of flowering Echinacea varieties, dwarf rhododendrons, acacia, hydrangea, and many kinds of roses. But for upkeep purposes and sustainability, it’s recommended that homeowners in very hot, dry climates design gardens with a nice balance of hardscaping and drought-resistant plants.
How often should plants be watered?
Outdoor plants should be watered every day in the summer, or whenever the temperature hovers more than 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Certain potted plants even need watering twice a day. In cooler seasons, watering frequency depends on how much rain the plants are getting. If they’re not getting 1 1/2-2 inches per week, make up the difference by watering them.
Indoor plants should always be watered a few times a week, although the exact schedule depends on how much sunlight the plant gets, the type of plant, and the conditions in your house (e.g. air conditioning).
How often should fruit trees be fertilized?
Fruit trees require fertilizing on different schedules depending on the fruit. Peaches, for example, should be fertilized once around bud-break, and once more in early summer. Citrus trees, on the other hand, might need to be fertilized every month or two when they’re in active growth season, with young citrus trees still needing to be fertilized every three months in the autumn and winter.
Apple trees only begin to require fertilization when they are old enough to bear fruit. Once this happens, the trees should be fertilized one season a year--with the ideal time being early spring before bud-break. Cherries are on roughly the same annual schedule as apples.
What are the benefits of organic fertilizer?
Among many of the benefits, it’s almost impossible to over-fertilize with organic fertilizer, and it’s much gentler on seedling roots. It takes longer to break down, making nutrients slower to release, sustaining the plants longer. Over time, it can help the structure and aeration of the soil.