Watering

watering-750It is no big surprise that watering is the most important thing in caring for your landscape. After all, we live in the desert. But there are other factors affecting the amount of water your landscape needs. These factors include the type of plants you grow, the design of the landscape, the type of soil in your yard, and the type of irrigation systems.

Most new landscapes in Las Cruces are Xeric. This type of landscape uses the water most efficiently for the conditions. While you can have grass, shrubs and tree in a xeric landscape, you usually find plants that require less water and little or no sod. The amount of water programmed on your timer should be set for the type of plants you are growing.

New landscapes require more water when planted and need less watering time as roots develop.  For the first two weeks it is normal to water every day. Then slowly lengthen the amount of time watered and reduce the times a week you water.

If you have sod, it is normal in warm times of the year to set the normal watering schedule on program “A” and a second program that comes on 2 to 4 times a day for a few minutes. This keeps the sod cool land lets the roots develop.  Mowing a little earlier than you think you should can help roots develop faster without stressing the leaves of the sod.

Trees and shrubs usually have roots developed and require less water starting. Still it is a good idea to water the first 2 weeks more often. Once a plant is deprived of water, it hurts the plant’s ability to survive without water.

When your landscape is developed, you can lengthen your water time and reduce your days to be watered. This practice is like training your plants. It works by providing water deeper and allowing the roots to grow down to the depth that water reaches. Roots do not follow water, they simply survive when water is there to support root growth.

The “Water Training” should be done in the fall. Most people water high water use grasses as much as they can. But if you train your lawn you can water only two days a week. The lawn will still look great and will be stronger and more drought resistant. This works on all plants, but remember to watch your landscape.

Adjusting water for the season is important. Below is a table that shows how you might want to change your system. Remember, the biggest problem in landscape health is lack of water.

Date Shown on dial % 0f Program Watered
Sep-14 Reduce 20% Shows it is running at 80%
Oct-14 Reduce 20% Shows it is running at 60%
Dec-14 Reduce 20% Shows it is runnign at 40%
Feb-14 Increase 20% Shows it is running at 60%
Mar-14 Increase 20% Shows it is running at 80%
May-14 Increase 20% Shows it is running at 100%