Landscape Water FAQs

What time of day should I water?
Water during the morning or in the evening, 9 PM to 9 AM, never during the heat of the day or when the wind is blowing.

Is there an easy way to tell when areas of my yard need watering?
Insert a 6" screwdriver into the ground. If it can be easily inserted you don't need to water. You should check your beds and multiple areas of your yard this way before deciding to water.

Should I always water my yard on my designated watering day?
If it has rained the day before or a 6" screwdriver inserts easily into the soil, you don't need to water. Another test for your turf is when footprints or mower tracks become easily visible on the turf or when large areas of the lawn take on a bluish-gray color you need to water.

Is it true that too much watering can weaken my landscape?
Less frequent but deeper watering of an established landscape forces the root system deeper to seek water and establishes a more sturdy and drought-resistant landscape.

Does my entire yard need the same amount of water?
Areas that are shaded, employ Xeriscape principles or are well mulched will require less water. Lawns, trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals all have different water needs. Check the areas of your yard separately to determine if they need watering.

What is the best way to water my established trees?
The roots of a tree extend out from the tree three to five times the height of the tree. Soaking the tree next to the trunk is not adequate. Normal, general landscape watering provides adequate moisture for established trees.

Do flowering plants need the same amount of water as my lawn?
Flower gardens may need less water than grass areas. Select and plant flowers by their specific water and sunlight needs and adjust your watering method to these areas. Watch the plants for leaves that are drooping and don't recover when they are not in direct sun and water the plants at that time.

Should the same watering schedule be followed throughout the entire season?
Your yard will require less water in the spring and fall than it will during the summer months. Change your automatic timer or watering schedule accordingly. If you water with a hose use a household timer to remind you to move or turn off the water.

How can I find out how much water my yard is getting?
Place a shallow container like a tuna fish can in the yard to measure the water that is put out by your sprinklers. This will help you determine how long you should water. Check your sprinkler heads weekly for damage or breaks.

Does aeration really help my lawn?
Yes. It will relieve soil compaction and allow better water penetration. The result is less run-off and better plant health.

What is the right height for my lawn?
Set your mower to the highest level your mower will allow and keep the blade sharp so it will cut the blades of grass properly. Leave your grass clippings on the turf or use a mulching mower to recycle moisture and nutrients back into the yard.

What should I do with brown spots in my lawn?
Be willing to accept a less than perfect lawn. Respond to the brown spots by hand watering not by watering the entire yard. Check the coverage of sprinklers and look for broken lines or heads and clogged nozzles. Also check for disease or insect problems. Not all brown spots are caused by water problems.

What is the benefit of mulch?
Mulch will reduce evaporation, retain moisture in the soil and control weeds.

I have a new yard. Can I water my grass to get it established?
Many cities allow variances so you can establish a new landscape. Call your water provider to determine if these opportunities exist in your area.

Can I plant flowers during a drought?
This depends on the stage of the drought. During a Stage 1 or Stage 2 you can plant. Many annuals and perennials require less water than a bluegrass lawn. You can hand water or use gray water between your normal watering days if needed to establish the plants. Be sure to choose water wise or drought resistant plants and group them by their sunlight and water needs.

Should I change my landscape to be xeric because of the drought?
It is not advisable at this time to remove a traditional landscape and replace it with a xeric one. When the drought is over, and no one can predict exactly when that will occur, you should begin adding xeric plants to your yard. Become familiar with the 7 principals of Xeriscape and use them in your landscape on an ongoing basis.

How do I know what water restrictions apply to my area?
Check the web site of the city/water provider where you live.

How can I find a landscape professional to help me set my sprinkler system clocks, identify drought-resistant plants or answer other questions?
Visit to access experts who who can assist you in all the areas of your landscape.