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Florida's Land Grant University

Visit this exhibit for free from September 29th, 2012 through January 2nd, 2013 at:

Florida Museum of Natural History
University of Florida Cultural Plaza
3215 Hull Road
Gainesville, FL 32611-2710

Hours: Mon-Sat 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sun 1-5 p.m.

Florida Museum of Natural History

Google Map

View the Smithsonian Folklife Festival site for more about the exhibit

Landscaping: Water Efficient Irrigation and Design

Conserve water and save money by
  • Selecting and placing plants based on water, sunlight and soil needs
  • Reducing water use with microirrigation
  • Utilizing smart irrigation controllers that respond to weather conditions


  1. Residential Irrigation Efficiency - Plant Water Needs (YouTube)
  2. Your Florida Lawn - Working with Irrigation Controllers (YouTube)

You can help!

  • Landscape with water-wise plants
  • Limit your irrigation by watering only when plants wilt
  • Water early in the morning
  • Install rain barrels to collect rainwater
  • Create a rain garden to filter rainwater
  • Choose native plants that provide food and shelter for wildlife
  • Check and regularly maintain your irrigation system

Irrigation 101

SpraysSee Example

Sprays are primarily used in turf irrigation. With a spray radius between 3 feet and 15 feet, sprays can cover small turf areas and, with proper design, can do so efficiently despite having high precipitation rates. A variety of spray nozzles are also available that help increase efficiency and also adjust irrigation angles.

RotorsSee Example

Rotors are the muscle of the irrigation world. Used for medium to large-scale turf areas, rotors have a radius ranging from 18 feet to 55 feet and can rotate from 40 degrees to 360 degrees. Rotors have precipitation rates between 0.2 to 0.8 inches per hour and require longer run times than sprays.

Drip TubeSee Example

Drip irrigation is a type of microirrigation. Drip line works with low pressure and has a low-volume output, from half to two gallons per hour. Drip line applies water on or below the soil surface as drops and is used for watering hedges and shrubs.


Bubblers are a type of microirrigation. Bubblers work with low pressure but output more than drip line. Bubblers are usually adjustable and are useful for watering shrub beds and trees.

Micro-sprays and Micro-jetsSee Example

Micro-sprays and spray-jets are types of microirrigation. These micro-sprinklers are low-volume overhead alternatives for areas where drip line is not practical. Flow rates for these types of micro-sprinklers can range from 5 to 30 gallons per hour.

Additional Info

Handwater when possible

Handwatering is usually allowed during water restrictions, because it uses less water than an automatic irrigation system.

  • Use a watering can, pail, or hose with an automatic shutoff nozzle
  • Handwater potted plants, shrubs, trees, vegetables, and flower beds, and new lawns
  • See if your Water Management District (WMD) limits handwatering


Perform regular irrigation system maintenance

An irrigation system is only as efficient as it's maintained to be.

  • Check for and repair leaks
  • Unclog and replace broken heads
  • Point heads at plants, not driveways and sidewalks


Calibrate irrigation systemLearn More

Even an efficient irrigation system can waste water if it's left on for too long. The ideal amount of water to apply is 1/2-3/4 inch. Figure out how long to run your system by doing a test:

  • Place multiple coffee/tuna/other straight-sided cans throughout each irrigation zone
  • Run your system for thirty minutes
  • Average the depth of the water in all the containers
  • Multiply running time as needed for 1/2-3/4 inches of water


Make a rain barrel

Rain barrels capture rainwater that flows off your roof for use in the landscape. They're easy and inexpensive to make and can have a big impact on your water bill-instead of watering your plants with water you're paying for, you're using free water!


Established plants need less water

After establishment, most landscape plants will require a little supplemental irrigation during the dry parts of the year.

  • Most turfgrass needs 20-35 inches of irrigation water annually.
  • Most woody plants need 10 inches of irrigation per year.
  • Shrubblers are on short stakes that spray close to the ground. They are ideal for establishing and maintaining larger plants like trees.

Extra Resources