Winter in upon us and winter watering in the Valley of the Sun leaves a lot of folks confused. As a result, over-watering is the number one problem in the winter time. People don’t realize that just as many plants and trees die from over-watering in winter as they do from under-watering in the summer.
Let’s take a look at some recommended watering guidelines so that you can have healthy grass, plants and trees all winter long and save money on your water bill.
Common Low Water Plants (e.g. lantana, myrtle, oleander, sage, jasmine, rosemary) can be watered once or twice per week for 30 minutes.
Cactus & Drought Tolerant Plants (e.g. saguaro, ocotillo, bougainvillea, agave) don’t need any water in winter.
Mature Native Trees & Drought Tolerant Trees (e.g. Mexican date palm, mesquite, palo verde, ironwood) don’t need any water in winter.
Non-native & High Water Plants (e.g. roses, flowers, herbs and vegetables) can be watered every other day for 20 to 40 minutes.
Non-native & High Water Trees (e.g. newly planted native trees, citrus, ficus, queen palms) can be watered once every 2 to 3 weeks for 1 to 2 hours depending on size.
Bermuda grass goes dormant in the winter time and no amount of watering is going to make it look good. To keep the roots alive in the winter water the grass once a week for 5 minutes (per zone).
Winter rye grass (once the seeds have germinated and the grass has filled in) can be watered once a day for 5 minutes (per zone).
These are general watering guidelines. Homeowners should check the health of their landscaping by walking around their property every few weeks to observe the foliage. If things don’t look good, adjust the watering up or down accordingly. Check the soil at the roots; if the soil is dry increase the watering, if the soil stays fairly damp all the time decrease the watering.
It’s a good idea to regularly inspect drip systems for leaks and problems and lawn sprinklers for broken sprinkler heads and good coverage.
Dennis Lee is the owner/operator of D & L Sprinkler Service here in Phoenix which services customers Valley-wide. If you encounter a problem you can’t fix yourself, call his friendly staff at 602-329-3396 Monday through Saturday or visit them at www.dandlsprinklerservice.com.