Over-watering results in shallow roots and encourages weeds, disease, and fungus growth! Yikes! Also, did you know that the more you water your lawn, the more it becomes dependent on that water?
Typical irrigation systems use between 500 – 5,000+ gallons of water with each use!
This large range is based on yard size, soil type, water pressure, type of sprinkler heads, and run-time (to name a few!). This makes it difficult to provide a one size fits all answer for how much water it takes to water your yard.
We do have help for you! Check out the Water My Yard program (below) or schedule a free irrigation check, where our conservation staff come over to your home to provide watering advice.
Ever wonder “When should I water my yard? or How long do I run each zone?“
City of Round Rock has partnered with LCRA and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to help answer those questions! The Water My Yard program will provide recommendations on how long to run irrigation systems efficiently, while maintaining healthy lawns.
The program uses your property address, specific irrigation system information that you’ll input, and local weather information to recommend irrigation runtimes. Fill out the online form to receive weekly email or text messages about watering recommendations.
To register, visit WaterMyYard.org, enter your address, then sign up to create an account. You will need to answer questions about your specific irrigation system and landscape.
Water My Yard can be accessed online at the website (watermyyard.org) or the free phone app. There is no charge for this service; however it it only available for direct City of Round Rock water customers.
Are you a new homeowner in Round Rock*? Have an irrigation system for the first time? Confused by it all?
City water conservation staff can come over to show (and teach) you about certain water features of your new home, such as:
- location of your water meter;
- location of homeowner water shut-off;
- the home irrigation system (sprinklers) components and how to use the irrigation controller;
- minor landscape issues (type of soil, grass, native plants); and
- determine how many gallons are used with your current watering schedule;
- provide a recommended watering schedule;
- make recommendations if any system upgrades are needed;
- potentially more!
Please note staff will not make repairs.
*You must be a direct water customer of the City of Round Rock to qualify for this visit. If you’re a direct City water customer (sorry, MUD customers are not eligible), schedule a free irrigation system evaluation by contacting Jessica Woods via email or at 512-671-2872.
- Check for available irrigation rebates.
- Get the most out of your system – schedule a Free Irrigation System Evaluation or use these instructions.
- Water when the sun is not out; best time is before sunrise.
- Use multiple start times, or cycle and soak settings. Our clay soils cannot absorb water quickly.
- Schedule watering for each zone separately – remember shady areas can run for shorter times than full sun areas.
- Turn off tree bubblers after the 2 years.
- Turn system off prior to a rain event. Leave off for several days if more than 1/2 an inch of rain.
- Consider climate or soil moisture sensor-based controllers that automatically adjust the watering schedule based on weather or soil moisture conditions. Look for WaterSense labeled controllers.
- Follow these water tips and irrigation schedules to help lower your water bill.
- Adjust water schedule seasonally:
- Summer – no more than twice per week, when needed
- Spring/Fall – 1/2 of the summer schedule (once per week, as needed)
- Winter – turn system off and water manually if needed. Leaving it on increases your utility bill all year.
The most common irrigation controller types are Hunter (Pro-C, X-Core) or Rain Bird ESP series. Need help setting up one of these? Follow my instructions:
Do you have a leak in your irrigation system, or think you do?
- Check your water meter to see if there is continuous flow through the meter. Where’s your water meter? Learn here.
- To determine if the leak is in the irrigation system or on the house water line, watch the video below to learn where and how to turn off water to the system at your backflow prevention device.
- Once the backflow is turned off, look at the water meter again. If the flow has stopped then the leak is part of the irrigation system. (If the meter is still showing flow, the leak is on the mainline going to your house. The leak could be underground on the mainline or inside the home.)
- Time to call a Licensed Irrigator.
General Watering Tips
Landscape can (and should) tolerate some stress, this helps build up its drought tolerance.
An easy way to see if your lawn needs water is to look at it first thing in the morning. If the grass blade is tall, straight, and the leaf is open, like in the picture to the right, then no water is needed.
- Water before noon or after 7 p.m. 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.
- Summer – no more than twice per week, if needed.
- Spring/Fall – every 10-14 days if no rainfall has occurred.
- Winter – only water in a drought situation. Winter is not a growing season, plants are dormant, so usually no additional water is needed.
- Water grass to a depth of 4-6″, this allows roots to grow deeper which increases its drought tolerance.
- It only takes 1/2″ of water to penetrate to this depth. To determine how long it takes to water 1/2″ watch this video.
- 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.
- A soil moisture meter or long screwdriver can be used to determine how dry soil is in flowerpots, garden beds. Push the tool into the ground (if you can!) and feel how wet the soil is. Ideally you should be able to push it 6-inches deep.
- A hose timer 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.
Do you love gardening but aren’t quite sure which plants to choose for your landscape to blossom? Having trouble finding plants that look great and thrive season after season? Take the guesswork out of finding the right plant for the right spot (with perfect plant combinations) by purchasing a custom-designed, water-saving Go n Grow Garden! Details on the Events Page.
Water Wise Landscaping
- Don’t Cut Grass Too Short; If the lawnmower is set higher, the longer grass can help shade the ground, hold moisture longer and help to fight off heat. Don’t cut more than 1/2 of the leaf blade off at a time.
- Ideal heights for grasses are: St. Augustine grass 2-3″, Bermuda 1.5-2″, Zoysia 1.5-2″ and Buffalo 2-3″.
- Reuse Grass Clippings; Leaving the grass clippings on the ground can serve as mulch and fertilizer all-in-one. And it’s free!
- Use mulch wherever possible around trees, in shrub beds, even potted plants, mulching to a depth of 3-6″.
- You do not want to mulch to be mounded next to the trunk of the plant, often called “volcano mulching.” It should be more saucer shaped so water will not run off or away from the plant. A flat mat of mulch allows the water to sink in.
- Since mulch breaks down, it should be applied annually.
- City of Round Rock water customers can pick up free mulch at our Brush Recycling Center. Be sure to take a copy of your water bill with you when you go!
- Mulch also prevents weed growth, retains water, and insulates the soil and plant during cooler months.
- See the video below about proper use of mulch.
- Overseeding with rye, or other cool season grass, is not recommended, due to the increased water use.
- These grasses 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 and additional watering.
- Williamson County AgriLife Extension Office gave a great Winter Storm Recovery presentation on assessing trees, perennials, and the irrigation system after a freeze. Find the recorded webinar and other helpful information here.
- Howard Garrett (aka The Dirt Doctor) had a very good article called Responding to Freeze Damage that focus’s on trees and woody plants. Find that here.
- Aggie Horticulture provides a host of expertise on landscape plants, ornamentals, turfgrass, and gardens.
- Aggie Turf website has research on native turfgrasses.
- City of Austin’s Grow Green program includes a searchable database of plants, includes pictures.
- The Williamson County Master Gardeners and visit their demonstration garden for ideas.
- Williamson County Native Plant Society
- The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Outdoor Watering Schedule
The City implemented a new outdoor watering schedule in January 2021. The new watering days are based on the last number of your address and are now spread out over seven days rather than six to better balance water usage throughout the week.
The best time to water is before noon or after 7 p.m. The watering schedule is voluntary unless drought restrictions are in place; however, the City recommends you follow the schedule even when no drought restrictions are in effect.
Outdoor Watering Schedule (effective 1/29/21)
|Address Ends in||Twice per Week – Stage 1*||Once per Week – Stage 2*|
|0||Monday / Thursday||Thursday|
|1||Wednesday / Saturday||Wednesday|
|2||Tuesday / Friday||Tuesday|
|3||Monday / Thursday||Monday|
|4 or 8||Sunday / Thursday||Sunday|
|5 or 9||Wednesday / Saturday||Saturday|
|6 or 7||Tuesday / Friday||Friday|
- No drought restrictions – Watering Schedule is encouraged; however, it is voluntary.
- Stage 1 – Watering is ONLY allowed on designated days and during appropriate hours.
- Stage 2 – Watering is ONLY allowed on the designated day and during appropriate hours.
- Stage 3 – Only hand-held watering allowed.