During winter months, it's recommended to turn off irrigation systems completely. If water is needed, hand-water those specific plants that need it. If the entire yard needs water (in the event of a dry winter), run the system through once, then turn it back off.
Overseeding with rye, or other cool season grass, isn't recommended either, due to the increased water use. These also tend to compete with your warm season grass for nutrients in the soil. This weakens the warm season grass (St. Augustine, bermuda, etc.) which may then require fertilizing.
Outdoor water use accounts for the majority of Round Rock's water consumption during the summer months, as a City, our water use can easily triple. This is where the majority of our water savings opportunities are, since outdoor use is discretionary.
Automatic Irrigation Systems:
A typical irrigation system can use anywhere between 500-3,000 gallons of water each time it waters the yard. This is a large range, due to several variables, including size of yard, depth & type of soil, water pressure, type of sprinkler heads, and length of runtimes (to name a few!). Each yard is different and it's difficult to provide a one size fits all answer for how much water it takes to water your yard.
Schedule a Free Irrigation System Evaluation by emailing Water Conservation or call Jessica at 512-671-2872.
With this evaluation staff will: - determine how many gallons are used with your current watering schedule - provide a recommended watering schedule - make recommendations if any system upgrades are needed
To qualify, you must be a direct City of Round Rock water customer with a working irrigation system. Please note that staff will not make repairs.
Irrigation Controllers Basic Operating Instructions can be found here. The complete manual for your controller can be downloaded from this site.
Water Conservation Coordinator Jessica Woods shows how to program a sprinkler system to water twice during the night for shorter periods to prevent run-off, save water and have a beautiful lawn.
Irrigation Tips and Advice:
Turn irrigation systems off when it is raining (and prior to a rain event) and leave off several days after a significant (more than 1/2") rain event.
Install a rain shut-off device (at right) and a freeze sensor on automatic irrigation systems. Check them annually to ensure they are working.
Adjust water schedule seasonally. Do not simply turn on the system and forget it.
Spring (March-May) and Fall (October) schedules can be 1/2 of the summer schedule.
Turn irrigation system off during winter (December thru February). Water manually if needed. Irrigating during the winter months usually is not necessary, due to the regular rain events and wastewater averaging.
How to tell if your lawn needs watering...
Landscape can (and should) tolerate some stress, this helps build up its drought tolerance. An easy way to see if your turf needs water is to walk across it. If you can still see your footprints after 15 seconds then it needs water.
When is the best time to water
Water before sunrise. Evaporation losses are up to 60% higher during the heat of the day.
Avoid watering on windy days as most of the water will be blown elsewhere. Wind speeds tend to be lower when the sun is down--another reason to water at night.
Irrigate twice per week, if needed, according to the watering schedule during summer months. You may be able to water less if your yard has good, deep soil, is shady, and/or you do not water on a set schedule currently. Meaning: water only when the plants show stress.
Water grass to a depth of 4-6 inches, this allows roots to grow deeper which increases its drought tolerance.
It only takes 1 inch of water to penetrate to this depth. To determine how long it takes to water 1 inch, place several tuna or cat food cans, (or any flat-sided container) throughout the yard and turn on the water. Let the water run for 20 minutes (or however long you choose), then measure how much water is in the can. Now you know it takes 20 minutes to water 1/2 inch (or whatever measurement you came up with).
Drip and soaker hoses, or individual spray emitters are ideal for keeping water close to the roots, rather than spraying into the air and on the leaves.
Hose timer (pictured) can be used on your garden hose to set how long you want it to run. When the time ends, the hose timer stops water from coming out of the hose, however you'll still need to turn the water off at the spigot.