Cycle-and-Soak is Simply One Thought for Sensible Irrigation Month

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July 7, 2022

July is Smart Irrigation Month! It’s the proper alternative to spotlight this nice cycle-and-soak watering technique from WaterSense to be extra environment friendly along with your panorama water use!

Watering Suggestions from WaterSense®

It’s essential to know when, how typically and the way lengthy to water your garden. Every panorama is completely different. One watering technique, Cycle-and-Soak, makes certain your soil absorbs essentially the most water throughout a water cycle with out runoff. Your utility or water supplier is an effective useful resource to find out your soil sort and supply how a lot water is often wanted in your space.

 WaterSense and     Cycle-and-Soak  

The WaterSense label helps prospects establish water-efficient irrigation controllers that routinely modify the irrigation schedule based mostly on soil moisture ranges or native climate and panorama circumstances. Nonetheless, they don’t essentially monitor the speed at which water is soaking into the soil, so despite the fact that they may irrigate much less ceaselessly than a clock-timer controller, pooling or runoff can nonetheless happen.

In some landscapes, extra changes to your irrigation schedule can lead to extra water financial savings and a more healthy panorama. When you have a WaterSense labeled controller, you should utilize cycle-and-soak on sloped landscapes or clay soils to program your controller.

Cycle-and-Soak to Save Water Open air

Overwatering is extra frequent than many understand and might trigger weed progress, plant illness, and runoff that carries fertilizers and pesticides into native water our bodies. Putting in water-saving outside merchandise and selecting native or drought-tolerant crops are nice practices to be water-efficient outside. Sadly, the bottom beneath your panorama might be contributing to water waste. For instance, landscapes with clay soils or steep slopes might not soak up water quick sufficient earlier than it runs off. Landscapes with these traits might profit from dividing irrigation runtimes into smaller intervals with quick breaks in between to permit water extra time to soak into the soil. This follow, generally known as “cycle-and-soak,” can hold extra water on the panorama and scale back water waste attributable to runoff.

When Cycle-and-Soak Makes Sense

In case your sprinklers are making use of water quicker than it may be absorbed, irrigation water might pool or run off the bottom earlier than it may be consumed by plant roots. This generally happens in clay soils, the place the infiltration fee, or the speed at which water soaks into the soil, is sluggish. A soil with a excessive clay content material could be very dense and is extra prone to lead to puddles and runoff. Conversely, sandy soil permits water to soak into the soil quicker, so much less water will pool on the floor. Sloping landscapes may profit from a cycle-and-soak schedule. Whereas sprinkler irrigation just isn’t essentially advisable on steep slopes, many owners nonetheless set up their irrigation programs on sloped floor. In these circumstances, water might run off the panorama earlier than it may be absorbed. In both occasion, breaking apart irrigation runtimes into shorter intervals and permitting water to soak in between watering lets crops obtain the quantity of water they want with out water going to waste.

Getting Began with Cycle-and-Soak

To implement a cycle-and-soak schedule, break up runtimes for every irrigation zone (or space of crops). Water in shorter intervals based mostly on the quantity of water the panorama can soak up at one time. For every zone, file the full runtime that irrigation is scheduled to run (e.g., quarter-hour). Irrigate your first zone and file the period of time it takes for water to start pooling on the floor. This determines the utmost size of time to water in a single cycle. If it is the same as or larger than your each day scheduled runtime, cycle-and-soak just isn’t obligatory. Repeat this step for the rest of the zones.

Sample of Cycle-and-Soak Schedule

Water flowing off slope

What occurs when sprinklers apply water quicker than it may be absorbed!

With this data in hand, program your irrigation controller so that every zone irrigates in a number of quick intervals which can be not than the time recorded within the pooling train described earlier. Schedule as many intervals as wanted in order that the full runtime for the day is the same as the full each day runtime. Incorporate a 30-minute to 1-hour interval with out irrigating to permit water to soak into the bottom between every interval. An instance for 2 irrigation zones with a complete irrigation runtime of quarter-hour in Zone 1 and half-hour in Zone 2 is proven within the desk above.

Rotator Sprinkler

As an alternative of cycle-and-soak, take into account, rotator sprinkler nozzles which have finger streams of water. They apply a smaller quantity of water compared to spray head nozzles, and are perfect for sloped areas because it permits extra time for water absorption.

In case you need assistance figuring out the quantity of water your crops want every week and translating that quantity into runtimes, contact an irrigation skilled licensed by a WaterSense labeled program or your native utility, water supplier or extension workplace. [Arizona desert gardeners can find recommendations here on our Landscape Watering pages]

For extra particulars about cycle-and-soak, take a look at this supply from Castle Rock Colorado, and one other from Timberline Landscaping.

For extra details about WaterSense labeled controllers, or different water-smart landscaping and irrigation practices, go to

Be taught extra on our pages about efficient irrigation and how to program your controller/timer.

Or take a look at these extra Water – Use It Properly blogs on the subject:

Occasionally, Water – Use It Properly options visitor bloggers who write about subjects associated to water and water conservation. This month, we’re that includes WaterSense, the U.S. Environmental Safety Company (EPA) program designed to encourage water effectivity in america utilizing a particular label on shopper merchandise. Launched in June 2006, the WaterSense® program, a voluntary public-private partnership, WaterSense has helped American customers save 6.4 trillion gallons of water and greater than $135 billion in water and vitality payments. Since its inception, it has been immensely profitable at reaching its purpose of decreasing water consumption. An estimated 1.1 trillion gallons have been saved in 2021 alone utilizing WaterSense-labeled products.



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