Most cities in the Dallas area have settled on a once per week
watering schedule. Is that enough to keep your lawn and landscape
healthy? Unless you have a very large lawn and landscape, the answer
is yes. Most cities allow watering from midnight to 10am and from 6pm
until midnight which is 16 hour. That’s plenty of time to water but
you have to be creative in your watering schedule.
Studies have shown the key to healthy watering isn’t how often each
week you water, it’s the number of minutes per week. As long as
you’re putting back into the soil the same amount it’s losing each
week, the lawn doesn’t care whether you’re watering daily or weekly.
During the summer, lawns in the sun lose roughly an inch of water per
week. Sprinklers using normal spray heads, like the one pictured,
typically put out an inch of water per hour which means you need to
run each zone an hour on the one day per week you’re allowed to water.
The catch is our clay soils can’t absorb an hour of water all at once
which is why you have to be creative. You need to break up your
schedule into several start times – the simplest is three start times
in the morning and three at night running 10 minutes each. If you
have rotors (sprinklers that turn) you usually need to double the
length of time I just mentioned. Since the cities allow 16 hours, you
need to water roughly an hour per zone so that means unless you have
more than sixteen zones or and don’t have lots of rotors you have
plenty of time to water your lawn – even once per week.
The main problem we’ve seen with the once per week watering isn’t with
the lawn, it’s the sprinkler controller. There are quite a few that
won’t allow 6 start times. Water restrictions seem to be here to stay
so it may be time to consider replacing your old controller.
Note:Be sure to double check your math so your sprinklers don’t
accidentally run past the water window you’re allowed. If your math
isn’t very good you’re always welcome (actually encouraged) to call us
and one of our wonderful sprinkler technicians can stop by and help
you set your controller.