Tag: catch cups

How To Achieve A Beautiful Yard Even With Watering Restrictions

As we enter the spring and summer months, that means lots of people are turning their attention to their gardens. The deep freeze is (for most) thawing and revealing all the projects and cleanup that needs doing.
But even though it’s been a rough winter with record snowfall for many parts of the country, there are still large parts that are going to be facing water shortages this year. In fact, the situation is so serious that many municipalities are already planning on watering restrictions. So how can you still enjoy a nice looking lawn and garden without having a plentiful supply of the most vital element?
Truth is most people overwater their yards, and not just a little, but a lot. Irrigation usually consumes the most water of any household activity; upwards of 60 percent of all home water usage. And a quarter to half of that is wasted, as in not necessary. So there’s usually room for improvement, and we’re dedicated to making products that last, but also help conserve water.
We’ve been making an effort to pair with many municipalities to help homeowners optimize their sprinkler systems. And we’re pleased to talk about one of those partnerships close to Orbit headquarters. The Bountiful Irrigation District in Bountiful, Utah is one of those areas experiencing drought conditions. The situation has been building for a few years with increased population growth, larger water needs in surrounding states and lower than average winter snowfall. Bottom line is that watering restrictions are likely. But in a joint program we’re providing catch cups for citizen to perform sprinkler audits. Using these in conjunction with our wateringschedule.com website, homeowners are able to optimize their watering habits, reducing water waste and keeping their lawns green and healthy.
Throughout the spring and summer we’ll be exploring tips and tricks to get the most beautiful garden you’ve ever experienced. So check back often.

Recognize the Signs of Overwatering

Recently, a customer asked one of our representatives why they should perform a sprinkler system audit, like the ones available through wateringschedule.com, when water wasn’t an issue for them.  This customer lived in an area that wasn’t affected by drought conditions, so there were no municipal restrictions being placed on their water.  In fact, for a small flat fee ($100/year in this case) they could use as much water as they wanted.  So why not just water every day?

Well, the answer isn’t what the customer expected.  We all know our lawns can suffer from underwatering, but few understand the dangers or recognize the signs of overwatering.  Too much water can kill the grass by drowning it, but this is rare.  Grass is a very resilient plant.  More commonly, overwatering contributes to disease and fungus and to shallow roots, which cause the grass to become stressed more easily.  Because most people water at night the signs of overwatering tend to disappear by the time we wake up.  In fact, if, like most people, you get up and go straight to work without ever stepping foot on your lawn, then it has between twelve and eighteen hours to dry before you can see the evidence.  So it’s important to run tests when you can observe the results.  So what to look for?  Soggy ground is probably the biggest thing.  Also, look for pools of runoff.  And finally, lawn diseases can be due to too much water.

So how to get it right?  Start by performing a sprinkler audit using the tools and tests described at wateringschedule.com.  The site will walk you through the whole process and it’s free.  It will give you a watering schedule customized to your location and soil type.  Next, keep an eye on things.  Maybe allot yourself a few extra minutes in the morning to walk your lawn and feel for any trouble spots.  Look for runoff and puddles.  Run your system–even just in test mode–at least once a month (we recommend once a week) and look for geysers and broken heads.

Sprinkler Audits Can Bring Buckets of Savings

Does this sound familiar?  You’re going along, watering your lawn like you think you should be and then one day you notice dry spots.  You verify the sprinklers are all working fine, and that it’s not disease, but not matter what you can’t get the spots to go away.  The likely answer is to be found in your watering uniformity.  Uniformity is the evening of water distribution.  See, as a sprinkler sprays the water pattern becomes thinner as is goes outward.  Hence the need for head-to-head coverage.  But if the heads may look good on paper, and you can’t see any problems when running them, there still might be major problems in the distribution.  This is where catch cups can give you some important insights.

Perform a Sprinkler System Audit

To perform a sprinkler audit, deploy the catch cups evenly and run the applicable zone.  While you watch how each head is spraying, the cups are gathering water.  Make sure the heads are popping up and are spraying correctly (being free from debris).  Also, make sure the water is getting on the lawn and not your sidewalk, patio or driveway.  Adjustments may need to be made.  Then, when the cycle is done (we recommend running the zone for at least 10 minutes), gather the findings.  Do you notice any areas getting disproportionately more or less water than the others?  These represent problem areas that should be investigated further.  You can enter the findings into wateringschedule.com and you’ll get a free, customized water schedule for your current layout.  You’ll also see valuable data, such as your uniformity.  You want this number to be as high as possible (though 100% uniformity isn’t realistically possible, anywhere above 80% is great).  You can even play around with the numbers to see how much improving uniformity would affect the amount of water needed.  Altogether this process will take you about 30 minutes (add 15 minutes for each zone), but can yield tens-of-thousands of gallons of water saved over the course of a summer; well worth the time.


Introducing Wateringschedule.com

Orbit is excited to announce a product designed to greatly improve watering efficiency and conservation: Orbit Catch Cups.  These nifty little cups are used to perform water audits on your lawn.  When used in tandem with our website wateringschedule.com, the perfect watering schedule is just minutes away.

The process is simple.  Just place the cups around your yard and run your sprinklers for a short amount of time.  Record the findings and enter them in to wateringschedule.com, along with your zip code and soil type, and you’ll get a schedule customized to your yard.

The catch cups will also help you determine watering uniformity.  You’ll instantly be able to spot areas that are over or under-watered, and make the necessary corrections .

For most, these tests will yield two major insights into lawn watering habits.  First, you’ll find that you’re probably watering too much.  Watering your lawn too often is actually bad for it.  It hinders deep root growth.  The roots get spoiled by having an abundance of water so close to the surface and they never dig deep.  Second, the readings will probably suggest that you water in intervals.  This is because soil can only absorb so much water at once.  By watering in intervals, the soil has a chance to soak all the water.  Then, when you return for a second or third watering anywhere from 30-60 minutes later, the soil is then ready to suck up more water.

We invite you to head over to the website, test it out and see how Orbit Catch Cups can help you save thousands of gallons of water this summer.