Let Mother Nature do the watering for you! California’s Mediterranean climate means that most of the rain every year falls between December and March. Turn your irrigation controller off and let the rain do its thing. Only water manually if necessary or turn your controller back on if it hasn’t rained for 1-2 weeks – depending on the soil moisture level. The winter month is a great time to apply mulch, as it will help protect roots from temperature fluctuations and keep them snug during the cold months!
In February, review your irrigation schedule and help to make repairs to the system in preparation for Spring.
First, inspect your irrigation system to make sure nothing has broken over the winter, if you haven’t done so already. Early Spring is a great time to plant new plants. To help keep you garden healthy choose the right water saving plants and California native plants that are drought resistant for your yard! Planting in early Spring will give your plants time to established themselves before the heat of summer is upon us. Around March or April, you should turn your irrigation controller back on if it hasn’t rained in the past week. Make sure to turn it off it the rain comes back, this will save you water and keep your garden healthy by not overwatering. During Spring, it is best to only water at most two days per week.
The Summer days are long and can be very hot! In California, July 2018 was the hottest month ever recorded. Scientists predict that climate change will cause continual temperature rise. During Summer, your plants will need the most amount of water, it is best to water plants during the early morning between 2am – 6am to prevent evaporation. Your lawn and other plants will benefit most from a deeper infrequent watering schedule than they would if they were watered every day. During Summer, it is best to water plants 3 to 4 days per week and more frequently if there is a heat wave. If the temperatures rise, add one day to your watering schedule. Make sure you adjust it back when the temperature returns to average. Remember adding time to address a brown spot not only waste water, but probably won’t fix the dry area. Brown spots are usually caused by a problem with the irrigation system. Run the sprinklers to inspect the area for clogged sprinklers, blocked spray or misdirected heads. It is possible that there is a design flaw in the coverage and that hand watering the affected area is the best way to remedy the situation.
Mid-August and September might feel hot to us humans, because the days are shorter and the sun is lower in the sky, plant require less water than they do in June and July. This is more vital to the plant’s water needs then the ambient temperature. By the 3rd week of August, it is time to adjust your sprinklers and start gearing up for Fall! Plants only require 50 percent of their peak need in September and only 25 percent of their peak need by November. It’s best to slowly reduce the amount of watering days during the Fall months the sunlight decreases. Fall is also a good time to plant new plants in your yard. The mild weather will give them the nurturing they need to become established before the winter temperatures drop. Find the water saving plants and California native plants that will thrive best in your garden and yard.
* Don’t forget to adjust your irrigation controller clock for the end of Daylight Savings Time!