How do you protect your landscape from freeze damage? Don’t turn off your sprinkler system in the winter.
If you think about this, it makes sense. Imagine filling a gallon bucket with water and setting it out in your yard. If you came back and checked the bucket a week later, would there still be a gallon of water in it? Some of it would evaporate, right? The same thing is happening to the soil in your lawn and landscape. If you skip watering for weeks or months at a time, the roots of your plants will be far more susceptible to freeze damage.
Each week during the winter your soil loses about 1/4″ of water so you want to water about 10 minutes per zone per week, twice that if the zone has rotors (sprinkler heads that turn). Some controllers have a “Seasonal Adjust” spot on their dial, if yours does and you originally had the schedule set to our summer schedule of 60 minutes per week, you can set the adjust to 20%.
Most plants like water all winter long – if you have St. Augustine grass, watering in the winter may be more important than your summer watering. It’s a tropical plant so it’s unhappy in 110 degree weather but it hates 20 degree weather. The most common killer of St. Augustine is from freezing but I very rarely see winter damage to it if the homeowner has been watering regularly all winter long – in fact, unless you have chosen a really sensitive plant, it’s rare for me to see winter damage of any plants over the winter if they’ve been watered correctly.
One last reason to water regularly in the winter, the pre-emergent treatments we apply depend on your sprinkler system to spread and push them into the soil – that’s what creates the barrier to prevent the weed seeds from sprouting. The treatment can survive a couple of weeks without water but after that it disappears, which is disappointing to both of us.
In short- Water a little all winter long. Your water bill will be a little higher but your lawn and landscape will thank you for it.
Not sure how to set your controller? Give us a call we can probably walk you through how to do it over the phone. Don’t have the time or patience to set it yourself? Take advantage of our early bird sprinkler tune-up special of $50 (a $45 savings).