1. Avoid unnecessary irrigation by ensuring your irrigation system is operated properly
- It is important to remember not to irrigate just because it is your scheduled day. Irrigation systems should only be operated when the lawn begins to show signs of stress, some examples are listed below:
- Lingering footprints or mower tracks
- Grass blades or leaf blades begin to close lengthwise
- The top few inches of soil feel dry
- Turn your irrigation timer off after rainfall events and let your lawn “tell” you when you need to turn the timer back on (signs of stress are shown above).
- If a particular zone begins to show signs of stress, set the irrigation system to only irrigate the stressed zone, don’t run the entire system.
- Use a hose with an automatic shut off nozzle to water flower beds and dry spots.
- Ensure rain sensors are operating properly (not clogged with debris, irrigation timer not set to “Bypass”, and sensor level set to ¼”).
- Irrigation needs vary depending on the time of year, rainfall and soil conditions. Please refer to the WaterWise Irrigation Guide shown below.
* Recommended Zone Run Times are based on normal rainfall conditions.
During times of drought, you may need to supplement your irrigation system by hand watering using a hose with an automatic shut off nozzle.
During times of rainfall, you may be able to turn your irrigation system off for an extended period of time.
The Water Management District may impose additional watering restrictions as part of a water shortage order that must be complied with.
2. Avoid unnecessary irrigation by making seasonal adjustments to your irrigation frequency
|Dec – Feb||Once every 2 weeks|
|Mar – Apr||Once per week|
|May – June 15th||Twice per weeka|
|June 15th – Sep||Once per 2 weeksb|
|Oct - Nov||Once per week|
aUnless water restrictions are in place that limit irrigation to 1 day / week.
bDuring times of rainfall, you may be able to turn your irrigation system off for an extended period of time.
3. Reduce water use by installing more efficient irrigation system components
Multi-stream irrigation head that replaces a spray nozzle
Low precipitation rate allows water to soak into the landscape to reduces runoff
Helps prevent over or under watering
Hunter and Rainbird compatible
Low volume irrigation head on separate zones for trees and specimen plants (Crape Myrtle, Ligustrum, Magnolia, Drake Elm, Palms, etc.).
Low flow rates reduce runoff
Applies water only where needed
Hunter, Rainbird, and Toro compatible
Low Volume Drip Irrigation System
Used for landscape plants
Installed above the soil beneath the mulch layer
Only applicable where potable water is used for irrigation (i.e. North of CR 466)
Distributors of Irrigation System Components
Florida Irrigation Supply
Main Number- (407)995-9095
Central Florida Pump and Supply
John Deere Landscapes
Main Number- (800)347-4272
4. Improve irrigation system control using a soil moisture sensor
- Soil moisture sensors measure the water content of the soil and use the measurement to ensure that irrigation is not applied unnecessarily
- Automatically modifies irrigation schedules based on soil moisture
- 8 published studies including the University of Florida have demonstrated a 30%-80% water savings
Soil Moisture Sensor Distributors
Main Number- (214)683-4101
Main Number- (866)294-5847
Main Number- (951)689-1701
5. Change turf and landscape materials to drought tolerant species
Turf grass change
- Empire Zoysia
Florida Friendly / drought tolerant landscaping
- Plants selected to suit a specific site will require minimal amounts of water, fertilizers and pesticides
- Florida Friendly Plant Database - floridayards.org/fyplants/index.php
- Assistance provided by IFAS Sumter County Extension @ (352) 689-4668 Office located in the Sumter County Government Annex
6. Helpful contact information
The Villages Water Wisdom Information
Southwest Florida Water Management District
Tel: (800) 423-1476
St. John’s River Water Management District
Tel: (800) 451-7106
Waterwise Florida Landscapes
Empire Zoysia Information
Florida Yards & Neighborhoods-The Villages Extension Office
Tel: (352) 689-4668
Florida Friendly Landscaping Principles
Vendors for Water Conservation Devices
Florida Native Plant Society