tuna can

Watering/Irrigation is always a touchy subject. Are you watering enough? Are you watering too much? Here's an easy way to tell if your irrigation system or hose-end sprinkler is getting the job done!

Most landscape professionals agree that the ideal amount of irrigation for lawns and landscapes is one (1) inch per week! Be sure to periodically check your watering, especially if you are seeing issues.

Tuna cans, cat food cans, and or old bean dip cans (photo above) are the ideal instruments for measuring irrigation totals. Place the can or cans randomly in the landscape before watering. You should have an inch of water in the can after the system or sprinklers has run. I prefer to run my system once a week and I have my zones set according to the tuna can method. When we are suffering triple-digit temperatures (May, June, July, August, and September), you may need to adjust your system to twice a week and water 0.75 to 1.0 per session to keep up with evaporation.

During the rainy season(s), the system is turned off and Mother Nature takes over the watering controls.  In dry winters we need to make sure to supplement the landscape once or twice a month again.

And of course, designing a low-water/water-wise/xeric landscape would be ideal. We could figure out another use to reuse our tuna cans. Seed starters??? That's what nurserymen used before the invention of plastics!!!

For your consideration,
Nathan Unclebach
HCWG Horticulturist and Plant Lover

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