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Watering

No matter what kind of yard or landscape you have, it's important to know exactly how much water your plants need before you turn on the sprinkler.

Annuals and Veggie Gardens


Water Veggies and Annuals deeply for approximately 30 minutes every three days for a total of 1" per week.

Eight Steps to Correct Watering of Vegetable and Annual Gardens:

  1. Compost your garden soil with three inches of organic material before planting in the spring. Properly amended soil acts as a sponge to hold in water.
  2. Pick a method of watering Get water to the roots. Drip systems, soaker hoses or micro spray heads are ideal.
  3. Water newly planted seeds and transplants daily until established.
  4. Know your plants. Some plants need more water than others.
  5. Water when the soil is dry at the plant's root zone. Vegetables and annuals should be watered deeply, but, too much water can suffocate your plants.
  6. Set a timer to deeply deliver water every 3 days.
  7. Water in early morning while it is cool to prevent excess evaporation.
  8. Mulch your garden with straw or other organic material. This will hold in moisture.
This schedule is based on average weather and average soils. Extremely hot weather and sandy soils may require an occasional irrigation a day sooner. Cool weather may allow you to skip or postpone a scheduled watering.

Perennials and shrubs


Test the soil for dryness at the root zone. Water approximately 30 minutes per week - never more than 1" per week.

Five Steps to Correct Watering of Shrubs and Perennials:

  1. Know your plants. - Read the Water Saving Plant List to learn more.
    - Many established shrubs and perennial only need water in the driest of weather.
    - Native plants and drought tolerant plants don't need watering once established.
    - Group plants with the same watering needs together.
  2. Know your soil. Amend your soil with 3 inches of organic material to provide proper drainage.
  3. Dig down 3" before you water. Use a trowel or soil probe to test the dryness of the soil.
  4. Get water to the roots. - Water deeply with 1" of water.
    - Hand watering, drip systems, soaker hose or micro spray heads are ideal.
    - Water garden beds separately from lawns.
    - Water in the morning when it is cool
  5. Mulch. Apply mulch or compost 2 or 3 inches to hold moisture in the soil. Beauty bark does not count.
This is based on average summer temperatures and average soils. Always check to assure that water has infiltrated to the root zone. Don't forget: Back flow devices are required for all irrigation systems.

Lawns


Water Lawns 20 minutes twice a week
for a total of 1" per week.


Four Steps to Correct Lawn Watering:

  1. Check and repair clogged or broken sprinkler heads. Look for sprinklers that may be set into the ground too deeply. Sprinkler heads should be vertical and unobstructed.
  2. Find out how long it takes your system to apply 1" inch. Check your sprinkler head manufacturer performance charts or do the "tuna can test". Spray heads usually deliver water at a rate of 1.5 inches per hour; Rotors at a rate of .75 inches per hour.
  3. Use a timer or controller to set your watering schedule. On slopes or with clay soil, break up your irrigation run times into two or three cycles to allow the water to soak into the ground. Example: if it takes 20 minutes to apply 1/2" of water, schedule five minute cycles with an hour in between.
    MONTH
    TIME
    IRRIGATION INTERVAL
    Start up June 1Approx. 20 minutesOnce every 4 days
    JulyApprox. 20 minutesOnce every 3 days
    AugustApprox. 20 minutesOnce every 3 days
    Shut down September 1  
    This schedule is based on average weather and average soils. Extremely hot weather and sandy soils may require an occasional irrigation a day sooner. Cool weather may allow you to skip or postpone a scheduled watering.
  4. Install a rain sensor to shut off your system during wet weather. Don't irrigate in the rain!
Remember: A cross control device must be installed on all irrigation systems.

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