Many water conservation measures are being enacted throughout Southern California to ensure our environmental future. A large movement is taking place which, in a nutshell, tells us to remove grass lawns and replace them with drought tolerant plants, including various natives. While there are merits to removing a lawn.they require fertilizer and more water than native plants. lawns are a must have in some circumstances, especially households with kids and/or dogs. Have you ever tried to play a game of soccer on top of native plants? My job is not to tell clients what to do. However, I do inform them of a great water saving choice when they decide to keep some grass. A subsurface or underground sprinkler system makes great sense. Choosing subsurface irrigation over conventional sprinklers will prevent overspray, the main cause of wasted water and money.
Choosing a subsurface irrigation system will also do away with water spots on cars left in driveways, green algae rings on houses and fences, unsafe slippery sidewalks, and fertilizers being carried to gutters and eventually the ocean. What is subsurface drip irrigation? It is tubing that is trenched one inch to two inches below the grass surface and covered over with grass seed. When the surface drip irrigation system comes on, the grass roots are watered. Do grass blades need to be watered? No. The benefit of the subsurface irrigation is to distribute water only where it is needed the roots of a plant. Drip irrigation is the world’s most efficient type of irrigation, and subsurface drip is especially so because it is unaffected by wind and evaporation. This results in 70 percent less water use than conventional overhead sprinklers.
The idea for subsurface drip irrigation came from Israel (where water is as precious as gold) about 50 years ago. For many years, however, a problem with subsurface irrigation was root intrusion and blockage. When underground drip systems were installed in grass, roots would attempt and sometimes succeed in plugging the drip outlet holes. The faulty remedy? Herbicides! Since herbicides are poisons that damage our environment, this was not a good choice, so there was resistance to installing this type of product.After years of testing, the world’s largest sprinkler manufacturer, Rainbird, came out with a new product last year that solves the problem of plugged drip outlet holes, their XF?SDI Series Dripline. It has proven to be effective, reliable, and environmentally friendly. It is a sustainable subsurface drip irrigation system that works by using a technology called “Copper Shield.” The same copper that safely delivers water throughout our homes is used to protect emitters from root intrusion. Mowing the lawn is not a problem, and fertilizer (through a system called “fertigation”) can be added in liquid form directly into the irrigation system, delivering fertilizer to your grass, not the gutter and ocean.
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Owner of Enviroscape Landscaping in Los Angeles, California