Fairfield County Drought Update

Despite roller coaster winter weather and 14 inches less rain than normal in the past 12 months, an irrigation ban was recently announced by loyal authorities to be in effect for the towns of Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan and Stamford. As conditions change or continue to improve over the next few weeks, ELM will continue to keep you informed.

For commercial property and facility managers, and school and hospital campus administrators concerned about protecting and preserving the value of their properties’ curb appeal and the health of their landscape, the impact of less available water on plant health is a legitimate concern.

“Water management is integral to every process of our business,” said Bruce Moore, Jr., ELMs operations vice president. Conservation is not just something we sell; it’s a philosophy that guides our entire approach to responsibly managed landscapes. Most of our commercial customers are implementing sustainability programs or are LEED-focused; to the extent we can partner with them to meet their goals, it helps us meet our own commitment to be better stewards and better informed about real-time issues affecting everyone’s bottom line.”

There are some immediate things you can do to begin having a positive impact on your landscape’s ability to optimize reductions in water.

These include:

Irrigation Infrastructure
1) Perform a water audit to measure and manage usage more effectively.
2) Use high performing, improved efficiency systems for water delivery such as drip irrigation, precision nozzles, pressure compensation devices, and soaker hoses for targeted deep watering.
3) Install water compliance management tools, rain sensors, ‘smart’ digital technology, and precision monitoring software (weather based controllers, rain collectors, soil moisture sensors).
4) Use supplemental water collected from catchment systems, harvesting, gutters and downspouts, cisterns, and wells.
5) Prep and de-winterize irrigation systems and inspect for leaks, breakages, worn parts, or hydromechanical failure, and retrofit or repair before idling system pending further municipal water use advisories.
6) Improve drainage and soil quality to improve absorption and reduce waste.
7) Seek the highest possible level of uniformity to meet plant water demands.

Plant & Soil Health
1) Apply mulch and organic matter to help the soil retain moisture, reduce water requirements, moderate soil temperature, and control disease.
2) Evaluate and diagnose plant and tree health to identify physical and physiological effects of drought-stress, including disease, infestations, direct damage to roots, and foliage decline that may require attention, pruning or removal.
3) Replace thirsty plants with native or adapted plants attuned to regional and seasonal fluctuations.
4) Convert under-utilized turf areas to drought-tolerant plants and trees.
5) Maintain plant health through sound cultural practices, such as using biostimulants, mycorrhizae or similar compounds to stimulate root growth and regeneration.
6) Remove dead, damaged or dying branches and stressed plant material to help minimize problems with pests and disease.
7) Control weeds that compete with your landscape plants for moisture and rob them of valuable nutrients.

ELM will continue to monitor all matters related to state and county-wide drought advisories. If or when the ban is lifted, a twice-weekly watering schedule is expected to be in effect and ELM will re-program customers’ irrigation systems to comply and conform accordingly.

To learn more about working with ELM to implement the best irrigation strategy for your landscape, go to: http:// http://www.easternland.com/sustainability/water-conservation/
Or contact Bruce Moore at 203.316.5433.

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