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A few weeks ago I wrote about a simple sprinkler conversion that was no harder than unscrewing a bottle cap and screwing another one back on. I was overwhelmed with the response.
 
Ron Vanderhhoff
 
Yes, people are listening. Yes, gardeners do want to conserve water.
 
I wrote about a simple change to our sprinkler heads that would not only conserve water (click here to read previous article), but might even improve the health of our plants. Nonetheless, in spite of the simplicity of this conversion, there are still people approaching me every day asking “What was that new sprinkler thing you wrote about?” and “How do I change my sprinkler heads again?”

So here it is again, this time in pictures

1. Turn on a sprinkler station and count the number of full, half and quarter sprays. Unscrew one of the inserts and bring it into a nursery or store that sells MP Rotators.

mp_rotator_1a.jpg
2. With your new MP’s nearby, pull up the stem of your sprinkler body. While holding it up with one hand, simply unscrew the small top insert.
mp_rotator_2a.jpg
3. While holding the stem up, screw on the new MP Rotator. Aim it in approximately the right direction.
mp_rotator_3a.jpg
4. With the water on, adjust the arc or angle of the spray by turning the ring just below the water. Adjust the distance of the water by turning the screw at the very top of the sprinkler.
MP Rotator
When you go shopping for MP Rotators it is important to bring one of your old inserts with you. Depending upon the manufacturer of your sprinkler bodies, you might need male threads or female threads. No big deal, MP Rotators come either way; just bring one with you. MP’s also come as strip sprays for parkways and other narrow spaces. And if your sprinklers are just on simple risers, with a pop-up, that’s fine too.
 
Finally, after installing MP’s be sure to adjust your irrigation timer to a longer duration, which compensates for MP’s much slower rate of water flow. That’s it; you’re done. It’s one of the easiest things you can do to conserve precious garden water.
 
If you’re one of the hundreds of homeowners who converted to these little water conservation devices in the past three weeks – thank you. Perhaps now you can help your neighbor. While you’re at it, they might need help with their mayonnaise lids and salad dressing caps as well.

Questions from Readers August 29.

Question:
 
It seems like no matter how often I water I can’t seem to keep my hanging baskets from drying out, especially during this week’s hot weather. What can I do?

Melody, Newport Beach

Answer:
One possible solution is to try the new self-watering hanging baskets that are now becoming available. These new containers have a reservoir in the base of the basket, under the soil, that holds a small supply of extra water. As the soil above dries out, capillary action pulls this extra reserve of water into the soil. Since these baskets are closed systems, they also don’t dribble onto the pavement below or contribute to runoff problems.

Ron Vanderhoff is the Nursery Manager at Roger’s Gardens , Corona del Mar.


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