Summer may be over, but that doesn’t mean you’re done caring for your lawn. It’s one of the few downsides to the mild autumns and winters in California — it seems like lawn care never ends. But different seasons bring different lawn care needs, and something as simple as watering your lawn needs to be approached differently at this time of year than you would during the summer. And if you’re wondering what a plumbing company has to do with lawn care, don’t worry — we’ll get to that, too.
Proper watering varies depending on the kind of flora growing on your property. Just as some plants thrive in direct sun while others need shade, they need differing amounts of water as well. That includes not only flowers and shrubs, but also grasses; yes, grasses, plural, because there are both warm-season and cool-season grasses. Warm-season grasses have deeper root systems, and therefore require less water than their cool-season counterparts. We suggest seeding with warm-season grasses for this reason.
Regardless of the kinds of plants and grasses on your property, there’s literally nothing that needs daily watering. Three times a week is sufficient during the summer, but during the cooler months that number will drop. To see if watering is needed, stick a screwdriver into the soil; if it goes in easily, the soil is still moist and doesn’t need water. If you meet resistance, you may need to water.
However, when and how you water matters. Don’t water at night, since this promotes the growth of mold and fungus and can lead to rot. Water early in the morning so you’re not losing most of the water to evaporation, and water in short spurts to ensure penetration rather than runoff.
Know When Not to Water
Ground moisture isn’t the only indication that you don’t need to water. You don’t need to water for a couple of days after a rainfall. And after the first freeze, grass normally goes dormant and doesn’t require watering. That’s a good time to shut off and flush your sprinkler system.
If you’ve read this far and have further questions, we have the resources. If you have a landscaping company, they can offer further advice on watering. We also suggest reading this PDF from the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. It has watering tips that are much more granular than we have space to discuss here, including a region-by-region breakdown of grass types and water requirements.
Your other resource is the Sacramento and Fresno plumbing professionals at Ace Plumbing. Part of proper watering is having the right tools for the job, and those tools aren’t a garden hose and a bunch of cheap sprinklers picked up from the hardware store. Instead, you’re better off with a professionally-installed irrigation system. These systems are smarter, sensing rainfall and moisture, and optimizing watering times. That can save you time and save water, keeping plants and grasses healthy with adequate moisture while preventing waste by avoiding overwatering.