At least half the water used by a typical North Valley home goes into the yard. Fed up with high water bills and endless repairs, some opt to turn off their irrigation systems for good. Incredibly, their unwatered yards may be largely indistinguishable from yards watered daily.
If you abruptly terminate watering, some plants will die. But watering too much can also be detrimental. Among the signs of overwatering: leaves that are green but brittle, or that turn pale or even yellow.
Over the years, we’ve collected informal data on the irrigation practices of thousands of homeowners in our area. Comparing that with guidelines from the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (www.amwua.org), it’s clear most homeowners significantly overwater. The AMWUA guidelines recommend approximately:
Every two weeks during the late spring warm-up.
Once per week in the hottest, driest parts of the year (late May into July).
Once every 10 days if getting moisture during monsoon season.
Every 30 days in winter.
The primary considerations for watering are plant type, size and age. Younger and non-native plants need water more frequently. Older plants thrive with deeper, wider area waterings. Follow the “1-2-3” depth rule:
1 foot Annuals, lantana and small cacti
2 feet Medium-sized plants like sage and vines
3 feet Large plants and trees
These guidelines refer primarily to drought-tolerant plants and cacti—exactly what many HOAs mandate. Hibiscus, roses and citrus need more frequent watering. Plants on mounds or in tight spaces can present additional water-monitoring challenges.
Watch for signs of stress. If plants wilt in the heat, they likely need more water (adjust the irrigation timer, or consider supplementing with a hose).
See other tips at www.wateruseitwisely.com, or give us a call and we’ll evaluate your plants and your irrigation setup.