Lawn irrigation and hard water

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Can you use a lawn irrigation system with hard water?

Hard water contains high levels of calcium and magnesium and is common in many households across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and in Ontario. Homeowners with hard water may notice deposits on their dishware, buildup in their coffee pots or kettles, as well as the inability of soap to lather up well in the shower.

To counteract these issues, homeowners may install a water softener. Water softeners use salt to increase the sodium levels in the water, which removes the calcium and magnesium by replacing it. This makes for easier washing of dishes, better showers and less lime scale buildup on any appliances that use water, such as coffee machines, washing machines and dishwashers.

While hard water can make life inside the home difficult, it’s fine – and even recommended over softened water – for lawn irrigation. When a water softener is added to the home, the excess sodium can degrade the soil over time. The sodium does not necessarily kill plants immediately, but it can ruin the soil’s texture and composition, which starves plant and lawn roots of oxygen.

If you are using a water softener, it’s recommended to apply gypsum to the lawn twice annually to counteract the excess sodium, and then water it into the lawn. About 2.5 pounds of gypsum for every 100 square feet of your lawn (each 10 by 10 patch) will do the trick and improve your lawn’s quality when using salt-softened water.

Without a water softener, your lawn irrigation system could experience a buildup of lime scale over time. That’s why it’s wise to have your irrigation system inspected periodically by a reputable installer. You may also want to speak to the installer about your water hardness and the effect it will have on your lawn, if any.

Make sure your lawn irrigation system is in good working order for 2012: book your fall/winterization now.

About Future Green Irrigation: Canadian owned & operated, we provide Lawn Irrigation Systems for finer homes, businesses and golf courses throughout Barrie, Toronto, the GTA and beyond including North York, Bradford, Aurora, Bolton, Caledon, Innisfil, Wasaga Beach, Collingwood and Newmarket, Ontario.


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