As the vibrant colors of summer foliage transform into the rich, warm hues of autumn, our landscapes undergo a beautiful metamorphosis. However, with the arrival of fall comes a surprising and often unnoticed phenomenon – a significant spike in landscape water waste. Many landscapers and homeowners may be unaware of this seasonal water consumption shift and its associated challenges. Today, we explore why more landscape water is wasted in the fall and provide actionable solutions for individuals and professionals alike to curb this waste and promote sustainable water management.
The Surprising Culprit: Fall Landscape Water Waste
Reduced Evaporation and Transpiration – One of the primary reasons for increased water waste in the fall is the reduced daylight hours. Most plants transpire much less after the sun goes down. With shorter days and temperatures decreasing, evaporation and transpiration rates drop significantly. This means less water needs to be applied to lawns, gardens, and landscapes. However, many people still leave their controllers set to the watering schedules programmed in July. As a result, lots of water is wasted from overwatering plants.
Less Outdoor Activity – With the arrival of cooler weather, people tend to spend less time outdoors. This reduced outdoor activity means fewer individuals are present to monitor and adjust irrigation systems. Automated sprinkler systems may continue operating based on previously programmed schedules, even when no longer needed.
Plant Growth and Maintenance – Autumn is often when lawns and plants experience slower growth. This reduced growth means that plants require less water, yet many irrigation systems continue to deliver the same volume of water as in the summer. Overwatering during this time can lead to soil saturation, runoff, and nutrient leaching.
Leaf Fall – Shedding leaves from deciduous trees and plants is a hallmark of fall. Leaves can clog drainage systems, disrupt water flow, and contribute to water pooling on landscapes. This can result in water waste and create breeding grounds for pests and diseases.
Misaligned Watering Schedules – The fall season can be unpredictable for regions with inconsistent weather patterns. Some days may remain warm and dry, while others are cool and damp. Misaligned watering schedules can lead to overwatering on dry days and underutilizing wet ones, which contribute to water waste. This is a significant reason why a smart controller is needed, and you get so much savings in the fall.
What Can Landscapers and Homeowners Do to Mitigate Fall Water Waste?
Adjust Irrigation Schedules – Landscapers and homeowners should regularly review and adjust their irrigation schedules to align with seasonal changes. Reduce the frequency and duration of watering sessions in the fall to match the decrease in evaporation and plant water needs.
Upgrade to a Jain Unity Smart Irrigation System – Consider investing in smart irrigation systems that use weather data to optimize watering schedules. These systems can adjust watering based on real-time conditions, preventing unnecessary water waste. You can find a link to Jain Unity here.
Mulch Leaves – Rather than raking and discarding fallen leaves, use them as a valuable resource. Mulching leaves and incorporating them into your landscape can improve soil health, reduce water evaporation, and minimize the need for additional irrigation.
Regular Maintenance – Maintain your irrigation system by checking for leaks, clogs, and broken sprinkler heads. Ensure that the system operates efficiently and best uses the water it delivers.
Educate and Involve – Educate clients, family members, and neighbors about the importance of water conservation in the fall. Please encourage them to become active participants in managing water use responsibly.
As autumn paints our landscapes with its resplendent colors, it also presents an opportunity to address the increase in landscape water waste. By understanding the reasons behind this waste and taking proactive measures, landscapers and homeowners can play a pivotal role in conserving water, reducing utility bills, and promoting sustainable landscape practices. Fall doesn’t have to be a season of wasted resources; it can be a time of renewal, both for our landscapes and our commitment to responsible water management.