Landscaping During a Drought


How to Maximize Landscape Watering During A Drought

  • Consider a smart controller, which monitors the weather and adjusts watering accordingly.
  • Set your spray irrigation timer to run half the normal time and run a second cycle at least half an hour later. This will dramatically reduce runoff. Clay and other soils will only absorb so much water and anything beyond that point is wasted water. Average time should be 5 minutes or less per cycle on a level site.
  • Soil may look dry, but may still have plenty of moisture. If a 6" screwdriver goes easily into the soil then wait to water.  
  • Start watering earlier and finish before 9:00am.

Watering Only One or Two Days a Week

  • Helps your trees get more water
  • Mow lawns higher and less frequently, do not take off more than 25% when mowing
  • Program your sprinkler time for multiple start times with run cycles about 5 minutes each; repeat the cycles 3-4 times at least 30 minutes apart. If runoff occurs reduce minutes per cycle

Maximize Your Landscape Water Savings

  • Check regularly for leaks and then fix them immediately.
  • Incorporate existing water saving technology into your irrigation system. New sprinkler heads and smart controllers maximize water savings.
  • If you have a water meter, learn to read your meter. It will help you determine if you have a leak.    
  • Turn on each sprinkler zone and see how much time it takes to start generating runoff for each zone. Round sprinkler time down to the nearest minute and set that time as your maximum run time for each station. Program your controller for multiple run cycles.
  • Runoff means wasted water. No runoff means the water is being absorbed by the soil.


Water Trees First

If trees are lost, it increases the surrounding temperature making everything hotter. They are also expensive to replace. Many surrounding plants depend on them, because trees offer shade and protection for some lawns and other plants that may not survive the hot sun without them. In addition, they are often homes, shelter and/or food to birds and animals, which could possibly die if they perish.

Ways to Maximize Water and Help Protect Your Trees

  • Drill several 4" wide holes about 24"-30" deep around the base of the tree being careful not to damage large roots. Fill the holes with compost, which will allow the water to reach the roots of the tree.
  • Another option is to put your garden hose on a timed, low drip and get the water down deep. You can also install a temporary drip system tied into a hose bib or use a soaker hose on the surface to slowly water the base of the tree.