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Government estimates show that as much as 60 percent of the water we use goes onto our lawns. 'You could be wasting half that water by not being efficient,' said Patrick Dickinson of the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension in Dallas.

He said if you have pop-up sprayers, 'you get a lot of drift and fogging and misting that happens.'

Dickinson said you should instead use teethy nozzles called multi-stream rotors. They are relatively easy to add to your existing sprinkler heads, 'Your soil comes up to here. Get your nails or a screwdriver. Pull up the neck of the sprinkler head. The nozzle you change unscrews, is just this here. This is the only part you are changing.'

Dickinson said just this change could potentially save you hundreds of dollars a year.

'It's creating streams, which are larger water drops. Larger water drops means they are heavier, which means they are not blowing away. They're falling directly onto your landscape and into the soil,' he said.

Multi-stream rotors put out less water, so he says you do have to irrigate longer -- but you're using a lot less total water.

According to Dickinson, the easiest way to see how long you need to run them is to put out an empty tuna can when you water. When it fills up, that's about the one inch your yard needs for the whole week.

And Dickinson said you should only water once a week, even if you're allowed to irrigate more often. That way, the water will go deeper, and so will your roots.

'They are going to follow that water down, which means you will have deeper roots,' he said. 'That means more drought tolerance and more freeze hardiness.'

E-mail jwheeler@wfaa.com

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