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It is more efficient to give your dry spots attention with hand-held hoses rather than running your whole system. Home irrigation systems use between 1,500-3,000 gallons (or more for larger properties) each time they run.
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Make sure your system is operating correctly. Keep sprinkler heads adjusted to spray appropriate landscape areas, and have your irrigation contractor check the system at least once every year. Next, review our advice on how much water to use with your hose or in-ground sprinkler system.
Apply enough water to fill the whole soil profile. However, for personalized landscape watering advice, you may want to sign up for Garden Style San Antonio e-newsletter. Every issue features advice from local horticulture experts on what to plant, when to fertilize and how to attract wildlife to your landscape.
Established trees and shrubs, such as those recommended in South Texas can survive dry periods well.
In South Texas, water your lawn once per week to develop deep roots and grass capable of taking advantage of the rain when it comes.
To know how long to water, measure your sprinkler application rate. Put out several shallow, straight-sided containers (tuna cans, Tupperware, cake pans, etc.) before watering. Water for 20 minutes and then check the depth of the water in your containers. Estimate the average of the depth to see how much water you put down in 20 minutes. Every system is different, so it is important to measure.
Sprinklers that spray water parallel to the ground instead of up in the air are more efficient. You will lose less water to evaporation.
Both soaker hoses and drip irrigation are best for flower beds, vegetable gardens and newly planted trees and shrubs. Soakers like the black rubber model and the flat, green spray model work well in most situations. Drip irrigation has a pressurized thick plastic or rubber tube with evenly spaced emitters.
Water from the soaker hose will spread out to the side of the hose and seep deeply into the soil profile when it is applied slowly. If it is applied too quickly, it may run off and not penetrate to the roots that need it. To accomplish this effect, turn your hose faucet only a quarter turn and observe the hose to see that it is slowly seeping along its length. Soaker hoses should not exceed 100 feet in length. If many soaker hoses are connected in a series, the water will not be distributed to the end of the hose. Finally, never hook a soaker hose directly to the faucet but to another hose that is then connected to the faucet.