Every day more and more residents of The Woodlands Township are turning off their sprinkler systems for the winter. Letting grass “rest” for the cooler months is a trend that continues to spread. From soil scientists to turf grass specialists, all agree a “no watering” policy helps cultivate deeper roots and stronger grass while the grass goes dormant.
So, what does that mean for your yard? First off, don’t fertilize during the winter; it makes your grass lazy. By adding nutrients, your grass spends its energy staying green, rather than turning brown and concentrating on improving the root system. Secondly, don’t water your grass. Just like fertilizing, roots become lazy when they find moisture easily in shallow soil. By not watering, they reach deeper into the soil where microbes are working to recycle nutrients though decomposition and moisture is available.
When you turn off your sprinkler system, you will find you will not need to water your gardens and flower beds at all, or not as often as you think. Use a manual hose-end sprinkler if your landscaped bed needs some moisture.
One resident, Andy, reported saving 11,000 gallons of water in one year by turning off the sprinkler system and using drip irrigation in its place.
Last year, nearly 700 residents took the pledge to turn off their sprinkler systems from mid-October to mid-April. Many of these water-conscious residents have reported their lawns are better than ever! Perhaps it’s time for YOU to join them. If you are a resident of The Woodlands, your pledge also becomes a point for your Village Association in the competition for scholarship funds. The benefits of turning off your system are plentiful: water savings, healthier yards, and the potential for your Village to present scholarships to college-bound students.
When you’re ready to pledge, the form is available ONLINE. And here’s a bonus: Once you pledge, pick up a free hose timer at the Environmental Services Office, located at 8203 Millennium Forest Drive, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
One hot August Saturday at the Grogan’s Mill Farmers Market, Kevin Currey walked up to me and said, “Last year you told me to turn off my sprinkler system for the winter and I haven’t turned it back on since then. I’ve saved so much water!”
Kevin’s been using only a sprinkler or spray nozzle to hand water where needed, and his yard looks great, even during the hot months. He’s so happy that he’s considering leaving the system off indefinitely, except for occasional one-time watering needs.
My water hero, Kevin, asked me to give you a gift: a spray nozzle to encourage you to water by hand this winter. Just come by The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department (8203 Millennium Forest Drive), Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and say, “Kevin sent me,” and it’s yours.
Kevin is not the only Township resident with a water-saving success story. More and more residents are turning off their systems and improving their lawns.
You could be a water hero, too! So why aren’t you?The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department is looking for a few more water heroes. Take the Water Wise Village Challenge Pledge now to turn off your system until April. You get benefits for your yard, and your Village gets a point for your pledge that could become a donation for their scholarship fund. For more details and to complete the pledge form, visit here.
a success story to tell? Share how you have taken action to avoid
over-watering your lawn. Are you a water hero who only turns on your sprinkler
system when the lawn needs a quarter inch or more of water? Do you use compost
to strengthen your lawn and reduce watering needs? Send in your story. We want
to hear from you.
Just like this bad joke, wasting water is nothing to laugh at. It’s a precious commodity we rely on every day in every way.
So, how do you avoid wasting water in and around your home? Do you regularly check for leaks and repair them? Or maybe you use a timer on your garden sprinkler. Do you use a soak and cycle method when you water your lawn, avoiding runoff into the street? Like most of your neighbors, are you turning off your automated sprinkler system during the winter to help your grass get stronger and healthier?
The average American uses about 100 gallons of water per person every day. In The Woodlands, residents currently use about 88 gallons per person each day. That’s great news, however we can do more.
Consider the following:
Up to 11,000 gallons a year per household is
wasted due to leaks.
Running your faucet for five minutes uses the
same amount of energy required to light a 60-watt bulb for 14 hours.
Shaving with the water running is like pouring a
24-oz bottle of water down the drain – 32 times! And a running toilet wastes A LOT more – almost 800 bottles every day!
So ask yourself: where is your water running? Maybe it’s time to look more closely at your household water use. Start by calculating your water usage here. Enter your family’s water use information then view the report to help you identify where you can save some water and even lower your water bill.
Water conservation is a universal concern and many cities have introduced specific actions to ensure we all do our part. Residents of The Woodlands follow a “Defined Irrigation Schedule” which outlines the two days per week each of us may use our automated sprinkler system. However, you can do more by turning your system off completely from mid-October through mid-April. Not only will you save water and money, your yard will be much healthier for it! St. Augustine, the most common turf grass in this area, is a warm weather grass that needs a few months of dormancy each winter to let the green blades go brown while the roots grow deeper and stronger. The result: each spring your lawn will have new growth that is better able to resist insects and disease.
Each year The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department asks families to pledge turning off their irrigation systems as part of the annual Water Wise Village Challenge. Your pledge will help your Village earn cash for its scholarship fund. The competition renews each year, so be sure to renew your pledge as well. Watch for an Environmental Services booth at upcoming community events to sign your family’s pledge, or go online.
The greatest number of households yet took the pledge to turn off automated sprinklers for the winter. Friends and neighbors spurred each other to pledge and shared the benefit of conservation, while Village Associations promoted the Challenge in the hopes of adding to their scholarship funds.
Many thanks to a record 649 households who pledged and congratulations to the following Villages with the most participation:
First Place: College Park
Second Place: Creekside Park
Third Place: Sterling Ridge
Did you pledge to turn off your automated sprinkler system this year? Not only did you save water, you were also a part of accelerating the transformation of thinking about water conservation in our community.
Now that spring is here and hot summer months are just around the corner, consider this: it’s estimated that as much as half of the water homeowners use outdoors is wasted due to evaporation, wind, or runoff, all factors of inefficient irrigation. Take time for a springtime spruce up of your sprinkler system before you set it and forget it.
Inspect your system for clogged, broken, or missing sprinkler heads that could be water wasters.
Look where the sprinkler heads connect to pipes and hoses—if you find even small leaks, they can waste thousands of gallons of water per month.
Direct your sprinklers to apply water only to the landscape, not driveways and sidewalks.
Select a WaterSense labeled irrigation controller to automatically align your system’s schedule with local conditions and avoid watering during wet weather.
How much more water can you save this summer? Try these suggestions:
2019 SMARTER ABOUT WATER SEMINAR
Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 11, where we’ll focus on ways to safeguard our watershed – strategies to employ at home, and actions part of the West Fork San Jacinto Watershed Protection Plan. The seminar is free but registration is required. Go to The Woodlands Township calendar page to learn more.
…Your trash and recycling schedule may be impacted by the Thanksgiving holiday
…Minimize the risk of freeze damage and winterize your irrigation system
It’s time to drain and turn off irrigation systems. Watch this video for a step-by-step guide.
…Take the Water-Wise Village Challenge
Once you shut off your irrigation system, be sure to take The Woodlands Water-Wise Village Challenge. By doing so, you not only help conserve water, but also help your village earn points toward its scholarship fund. Pledge to take the challenge here.