Sustainability in the Landscape

Sustainability is arguably, one of the hottest buzz words being used today. By Wikipedia’s definition, sustainability is “the ability of an ecosystem to maintain ecological processes, functions, biodiversity and productivity into the future.” In the vernacular of the peasantry it means: do we have the ability to replenish our natural resources quicker than we use them?

The landscape offers many ways to incorporate sustainability. One of the most obvious is through the proper use of irrigation systems. We are painfully aware of the effects of the drought and I think it goes without saying that we are much more conscientious about water use.

Irrigation audits, although widely used in California, Florida, and the Southwestern U.S., are somewhat new to Georgians. An audit is a way to determine how efficient an irrigation system is functioning and then provide practical upgrades to improve efficiency. This not only conserves valuable resources and hard earned money but also ensures that the landscape plants and turf are receiving the proper amount of water.

Irrigation audits are completed through a simple “cup test” that determines the accuracy of coverage achieved within a given zone. Where one area of a zone may be receiving ¼ inch of water, another may receive ½ inch. The objective is to provide consistent distribution in all areas of a given zone and improve a system running at 50-60% efficiency to one operating at 75-85% efficiency. System upgrades can be achieved by moving heads, changing nozzles to correct gallon output, changing spray nozzles to MP (Matched Precipitation) Rotators, and the utilization of a smart controller and weather station.

Irrigation audits should be performed and upgrades completed by a Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor or CLIA. Coincidently, our CLIA is featured as our employee profile this month. If you are interested in learning more about irrigation audits, please contact us.

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