For the good people of Western Australia, lawn reticulation is a given fact, the overwhelming majority of homeowners in this State have both lawn and garden reticulation installed. Yet for the rest of Australia, most lawn and garden lovers will not have a reticulation system. So this article is to share the benefits of lawn reticulation with the rest of us who aren't so lucky to have this wonderful lawn care tool at our fingertips.
The single greatest benefit of installing lawn retic is that it takes the work out of watering the lawn. Once the retic is set to operate - it goes on, waters the lawn, and then turns itself off - all without any effort from us to even have to remember to water the lawn - let alone having to move the sprinkler around.
The next benefit of lawn reticulation is that it will water the lawn evenly and for a specific pre-determined amount of time, which is programmed into the reticulation control box. Both these factors are superior to hand or sprinkler watering because it gives us absolute control over how our lawns are watered.
For many people who own a lawn reticulation system, apart from some occasional repairs, they really rarely have to ever worry about the job of watering their lawns. Which on the surface sounds great, but this wonderful benefit to the lawn owner, can sometimes be a detriment to the lawn itself… more on that later.
Installing reticulation for lawns indeed includes an initial outlay of a substantial amount of money. Which is fair enough for what we receive in return. Pipes under our lawns, pop-up sprinklers, all the joining of the pipes, solenoids to control watering in different parts of the lawns, and of course the reticulation control box. Its a big job.
If the homeowner feels confident enough then this job can be done without the help of the pros. Just be aware that there is a learning curve to understand how to properly put these systems together, which will require appropriate research. Most quality lawn reticulation shops should have available quality information for the DIY types amongst us, but a little extra internet research would probably also greatly help us.
The first most noticeable downside to lawn reticulation is the repairs required. Sprinklers will get clogged up every so often, and will need to be serviced or replaced every so often.
Secondly, if pop-up sprinklers are not set properly below the lawn height, then breakage from lawn mowers is almost guaranteed. If mowing with a Cylinder lawn mower - this becomes even more important as the weight of the mower will not only break any sprinkler which is installed too high, but will likely also break the underground pipes as well… which is not an easy job to repair. So its very important to install these sprinklers correctly.
Finally we come to the last and biggest problem with lawn reticulation today.
Incorrect watering for the lawn.
In the old days… prior to about the year 2000, most lawn reticulation owners would just set their retic to water their lawns as often as needed. If the lawn was going brown from under-watering, the lawn owner would simply increase the watering times or watering days until the lawn stayed green all year round.
Which is the totally wrong way to water a lawn!
These days, with Australia's over population crisis getting worse by the day, and with our water resources under drastic strain, and with water restrictions and massive hikes in water bills, its time to get much smarter with how we water our lawns.
The problem in the old days of lawn reticulation was that it created a very shallow root system in the lawn. This happened due to frequent, shallow and and short waterings. Once the heat of Summer hit - the lawn would begin to deteriorate very quickly, and in response the lawn owner applied even more water. It worked… but it was all wrong… and wasted massive amounts of water.
Instead, this is how lawns should be now watered using reticulation in the 21st century.
Install and set up the lawn reticulation as normal. Reticulation is fantastic for its ease of use and even water coverage for our lawns.
Now, instead of programming the reticulation to water for specific times on specific days… we want to turn off the automatic function altogether.
Instead, we want to water the lawn only when its needed, and only when the lawn tells us its time for a drink. The lawn will tell us its time for water when the leaf starts slightly wilting, and its at this time we need to use the manual function to water our lawns.
When we water lawns this way - the lawn will be sending its roots deeper into the soil to search for water in between the times we do water the lawn. The deeper our turf roots go into the soil, the more drought tolerant our lawns become, while also using less water than ever before.
This gives us a strong healthy lawn which is much tougher to stand up to heat and drought.
There's just one final point to consider when watering our lawns this way…
We actually need to increase the amount of water which is being applied to the turf in any given watering. Yes, we need to apply more water to our lawns, which will wet the soil profile deeper, which will then allow the turf to send out a deeper root system, making the lawn more drought tolerant.
Does this sound counter productive? It most certainly isn't.
While we may use more water at each watering, we are actually watering the lawn less often, so throughout the year we are indeed using less water on our lawns.
Lawn Reticulation is most certainly a wonderful addition to our lawn and garden care, saving us time and hassle, while watering our lawns evenly and properly.
Wise reticulation use determines the very best way to water our lawns is to manually turn on the reticulation when our lawns tell us they need a drink of water, and in doing so we use less water - while making our lawns far more drought and water restriction tolerant.
Lawn reticulation… wonderful!