January 18, 2016

With the super El Niño upon us, it begs the question—do I really need to be watering my landscape plants right now?

Follow along by watching this video from Gilbert Digital and Gilbert Water Conservation about how to easily turn off your irrigation timer (also called an irrigation controller) before expected winter rains without disturbing your seasonal irrigation programs.

How long you’ll be able to keep your timer off after it rains depends on how much rain fell, how fast it fell, andLandscape-Care-Gilbert-Digital what time of year it is. A great way to see if you still have adequate moisture in the soil after it rains is by simply inserting a screwdriver into your lawn or soil of your desert landscaped area (you may need to brush away a few rocks). A screwdriver presses easily into moist soil, but it won’t press into the dry soil. If you still are able to press the screwdriver easily into the soil, you can keep your irrigation controller off for another day or so, and then check it again.

The winter rains we receive tend to be slower-moving and rainfall has more time to soak into the ground. With our often fast and furious monsoon rain events, significant rainfall can fall, quickly—meaning not as much of that rain has a chance to soak into the soil on your yard. Temperature and humidity levels also impact how long your soil stays moist.

If significant rainfall occurs during the winter months (significant rainfall usually considered 0.5 inch or more), and if the rains are timed with the right frequency, it is possible you may not need to run your irrigation timer at all!

Oh, and if you’re wondering how to set up those seasonal irrigation programs to start with (how long and how often to water), be sure to visit Landscape Watering by the Numbers for all the details. Happy watering!

From time to time, Water – Use It Wisely features guest bloggers who write about topics related to water and water conservation. The author of this blog post, Haley Paul, is a Water Conservation Specialist for the Town of Gilbert. Haley studied sustainability at Arizona State University and is passionate about helping people save water. Follow her sustainability musings on Twitter @haleyepaul.