College Park has the greenest, lushest sidewalks I’ve ever seen. It’s no wonder; they get watered just about every morning by some of College Park’s most eco-ignorant residents.
Hank (my puppy) and I walk the same route every morning about 6:00 a.m. As we pass the same few homes, we are forced off the sidewalk and out into the street to avoid an early morning shower. (Hank would love it — me, not so much.)
I hear you, mob mongers. Name the streets! What are the addresses? Hey, this is the College Park Community Paper, not Nextdoor. I’m not naming streets like Bryn Mawr or Vassar.
What I will do is share some information I found online at a University of Florida Living Green website (http://livinggreen.ifas.ufl.edu/water/lawn_care_and_irrigation.html). First, mulch your garden and landscape beds. Mulch helps keep the soil moist and reduces weeds. What type of mulch should you use? I like the brown stuff — it looks natural — but I would check with a local garden shop.
There are many theories and attitudes about lawn watering practices. Probably about the same number of ways there are to start a campfire or a charcoal BBQ grill. The Living Green website where I’m taking much of this information suggests watering twice a week in the early morning or late evening. Run your system until three-fourths of an inch of water has fallen.
Calibrating your sprinkling system is critical for a healthy lawn. An easy way to determine if your system is running correctly is to place a series of tuna cans or plastic measuring cups around your yard in the areas (you hope are) getting watered. Run your system for 30 minutes. Go out and check your tuna cans or measuring cups. Do you have three-fourths of an inch of water gathered? If so, 30 minutes is how long to set your timer for. If not, turn the system back on until you have that amount.
While you are calibrating your system, watch your sprinkler heads and make sure the water is actually hitting grass and landscaping beds, not your driveway, the sidewalk or the street. I had one prominent College Park resident tell me she had to actually wait to drive past a house because the sprinkler was spraying out into the street. (Apparently she had just gotten her car washed.) Clearly, this problem goes beyond Hank and me.
Watering schedules change month to month in Central Florida. For example, during the month of May a 64-minute run-time is recommended twice a week while in June the run-time reduces to 50 minutes per cycle. The types of plants you have in your yard also affect your watering time. Xeriscaping or grouping plantings with similar watering needs in your yard is a strategy to reduce your yard’s watering requirements. Strictly adhering to an accurate watering schedule can save you 10 to 20 percent off your water bill.
I hope this inspires a few of you to do a sprinkler system check. As much as I love walking the lush, green sidewalks of College Park, in the name of limited environmental resources, I’ll settle for strolling along on white, dried out concrete.