What Time of Day Should I Water?
In the Santa Clarita Valley, we recommend watering between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Watering within this window of time takes advantage of relatively low winds and less loss of water to evaporation.
How Long Should I Water?
Generally, in the Santa Clarita Valley, because of our clay soils, running an irrigation system on a lawn for more than five minutes will result in runoff. Precise watering times vary depending on the type of watering device, soil, slope and plants.
How Often Should I Water?
In the Santa Clarita Valley, water in the early morning hours between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. as follows:
|Summer: No more than every other day||Fall: No more than 3 times per week|
|Spring: No more than 3 times per week||Winter: No more than 1 time per week|
Less is More - More damage is caused to our plants and grass from over-watering than from under-watering. When setting up your schedules be conservative to start and add more time when plants begin to look stressed.
Losing its Spring - Grass signals that it needs water by losing its spring: When you walk across the lawn and see your footprints, your lawn probably needs to be watered.
Grass Height - Set your mower to one of the highest settings. There are several reasons not to cut your grass too short:
- Keeping grass longer allows it greater surface area to carry out photosynthesis, which in turn results in healthier plants. In addition, taller grass grows slower than shorter grass. You can use this fact to eliminate up to 20 percent of the mowing you do annually—an average savings of about eight hours a year, not to mention the savings of gasoline and wear on equipment.
- By keeping your grass at the upper end of its recommended mowing height, you can prevent most weeds from germinating—and thereby eliminate the need for herbicides.
Take Control - Weather-based irrigation controllers (smart controllers) are a great way to automate seasonal irrigation adjustments. Rebates for these devices may be available through your water retailer.
Fall Irrigation - In the Santa Clarita Valley, in September through November, temperatures may still be relatively hot and your plants may seem to require similar watering patterns to the summer. However, keep in mind that as the days become shorter, evaporation decreases and plants' water needs drop by approximately 30%.
Samples of Irrigation Schedules
Many homeowners request irrigation schedules to help them program their traditional controllers. Any schedule provided needs to be adjusted based on the type of watering device, soil, slope and plants.
The tables below are samples of controller settings that may be successful in the Santa Clarita Valley. These tables assume that your irrigation system works efficiently, and that you have resolved any common irrigation issues.
Keep in mind that with the clay soil that is prevalent in the Santa Clarita Valley, "cycling and soaking," turning the controller on for a recommended number of minutes several times an hour apart, results in deeper watering and a healthier root system.
Sample Controller Settings - Santa Clarita
|Turf Grass (Pop-up Spray)|
|Days per Week||3||4||2||Off|
|Start Times per Day||3||3||3||Off|
|Minutes per Station||5||5||5||Off|
|Total Minutes per Day||15||15||15||Off|
|Total Minutes per Week||45*||60**||30***||Off|
|*In the Spring, you can water at 2 a.m., 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. for five minutes three times a week.
** In the Summer, you can water at 2 a.m., 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. for five minutes four times a week.
***In the Fall, you can water at 2 a.m., 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. for five minutes twice a week.
|Shrubs (Pop-up Spray)|
|Days per Week||2||3||1||Off|
|Start Times per Day||2||2||2|
|Minutes per Station||3||3||3||Off|
|Total Minutes per Day||6||6||6||Off|
|Total Minutes per Week||12||18||6||Off|
|Drip (Moderate Water Use Plants)|
|Days per Week||2||3||2||Off|
|Start Times per Day||1||1||1||Off|
|Minutes per Station||20||20||20||Off|
|Total Minutes per Day||20||20||20||Off|
|Total Minutes per Week||40||60||40||Off|
|A drip system can run during the middle of the day so you can check that emitters are working and see that the ground is wet. However, 6 a.m. is an ideal time for a drip system to turn on so you can perform an early morning check-up on its functionality.|