Anytime a local contractor (in this case Benchmark Landscape) wants help convincing a customer that high efficiency irrigation is the way to go I am more than happy to oblige. Obviously monetary savings speak volumes with a property manager but the progressive concept of “no water seen” is driving a substantial amount of demand for retro fitters. The times they are a changing, and the opportunity for employees to play in the sprinklers on their lunch break is slowly becoming a thing of the past.
Case in point, BAE Systems of Poway California recently reached out to their top notch landscape maintenance provider, Benchmark Landscape, to see what kind of money saving rebates they could take advantage of as they try to reduce turf around their campus. Four zones in particular were targeted for the conversion, and the changes would lead to upwards of 40% water reduction or 40,000 gallons of water saved per month. Along with the reduction of water we will now be applying water directly to the root system, yielding thriving plant growth for years to come.
It is truly the season of reusing resources and on this particular project Benchmark has opted to re-use roof gravel for ground cover. Here is what Benchmark Landscape Account Manager Ashley Roenna said of the customer’s request: “The client wanted to take advantage of the rebates & remove all turf around their building. Before this project started, they were re-surfacing the roof and removed all the existing gravel and hoped to save it for us to use as groundcover in the turf removal. The gravel (appx. 30 yards) was piled up and set aside for 2 months before the project started. The client also wanted to plant very low water, low maintenance plant material. We originally bid the project with upgraded heads, nozzles, valve boxes etc. but then realized we could retrofit the zones completely and save more water. We’ve converted over-head rotors to a drip system with point source emitters, while allocating a separate valve for the tree rings. “ Ideally when one proposes a conversion like this one starts with the activation point. In this and most cases the automated zone valve is where we start to make changes. Added filtration will help combat any clogging that may exist when water lines are corrupted by debris, pressure regulation will ensure all our emitters and emitterline see only the pressure required to push water out consistently and lastly a strong glass filled nylon valve that won’t stick open under these new variables.\
In addition to this relatively standard designed turf conversion there was also the need to put tree rings on the existing trees, helping salvage what overhead watering may have harmed over the years. JAIN Power-Loc fittings and Bubbler Boxes were used just in case the trees need to be switched out in years to come and to help regulate water in the hotter months. Tree rings, although a little more work upon installation, are by far the best way to water canopy trees. Where flood bubblers may dump 30 gallons of water down an hour the combination of inline emitters in multiple circles will insure the root system grows outwards and is not overwatered creating shallow root systems.
In the coming months look for more photos of this site and an update on water savings. For more information regarding turf conversion success stories and potential site studies you may have for us, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @MDSavesWater for more conversion advice.
In my area customers are all for upgrading sprinklers to subsurface drip in turf until they see the price tag. No incentives for conversion here.