Wise Water Use Starts With Timing

Summary: The Fall season is where over-watering and over-irrigation happens most. During the hot summer, water use is higher in both the lawn and landscape and irrigation controllers run zones longer. Learn how to prevent over-watering in the Fall.

Studies have shown the Fall season to be where over-watering and over-irrigation happens most. During the hot summer, water needs and use is higher in both the lawn and landscape, and in many sprinkler systems irrigation controllers run the zones.

Over-Watering Happens Slowly

Fall over-watering happens slowly. As days grow shorter and temperatures begin to drop, the water requirements of a plants also are reduced.

Does your home have a sprinkler system, divided into zones and run by a timer which turns zones on and off automatically?
watering the landscape


Way too many homeowners, find themselves with a professionally installed sprinkler system, controlled by a topnotch irrigation controller – and just like their DVD or BlueRay player – never learn how to make adjustments or use it effectively.

This results in wasting water, along with potential issues brought on from over-watering.

The first place to start reducing water waste – look at your irrigation schedule.

Conserving water with irrigation best practices is a legitimate concern; plus over-watering the lawn and plants is a surefire way to damage them.

Learning to program your sprinkler system timer/controller, and creating a watering schedule which fits your landscape and lawn, (and changes during the year) helps produce a better looking landscape without waste.

Irrigating The Root Zone

When watering “above the roots,” the goal is to flood the surface so gravity will force the water down through the soil pore spaces.

By scheduling irrigation, you are trying to time and deliver the “correct quantity” of water which drains down from the bottom of the root zone… and no more.

Think of a block of soil around the roots as a reservoir. The game is to fill up the (root zone) reservoir so it encourages and produces more roots and deeper roots. Along the way creating an active and growing root zone, with the perfect ratio of air pores, moisture and nutrients.

Irrigation Sprinkler Timer Smart Control Presented by Rainbird Corp

Understanding Four Different Irrigation Issues:

  • Plant Water Requirements
  • Weather
  • Irrigation Hardware
  • Soil – how water moves through and is held by the soil

Every plant has water requirements which change during the year, related directly to day length.

To keep it simple – Plant water requirements are driven by: plant genetics, length of day, the strength of sunlight or heat and wind.

For irrigation scheduling this means, the water required for keeping a landscape in July thriving, is different in the fall when days are shorter. If you are applying the same amount of water, you are wasting water.

The focus needs to be on supplying the right amount of water, to supplement what nature may provide through rain or groundwater.

Understanding Different Types of Sprinkler Heads

Different designs of sprinkler heads are used for different watering needs. By understanding each design, you can better program your irrigation system controller/timer more efficiently.

Spray Heads

Spray heads This type of sprinkler heads put out high volumes of water in short time periods. Best suited for even, flat areas and small, hard-to-reach areas, but not on slopes.

Rotor Heads

rotor sprinkler head
Designed to water large areas – especially grass – rotor heads are excellent options. Lower installation cost and lower application rate than spray heads.

Drip Systems

drip system
A drip system is made from a series of tubes with small holes in them, dispensing small amounts of water to specific areas, promoting water conservation. Drip systems are excellent for flowerbeds, shrubs since targeting individual root systems can be done easily.

No matter what kind irrigation system used: how much water a soil can hold, and how long to apply irrigation before the water becomes gravitational water (the water starts moving downward) is “knowable.”

Water Early in the Morning

While you can fully control time of day each watering zone or program program runs, in most cases the best times to run irrigation cycles is during early morning hours.

During midday irrigation cycles, wind can disrupt spray patterns, blow water droplets off target, causing dry spots, not giving plants what they need and hot sun can evaporate water.

Early morning irrigation will use less water. Nighttime watering can promote fungus growth and plant disease.

Avoid Over-Watering


Over-watering can be just as harmful to plants as under-watering. By programming the controller of your irrigation system correctly, you can deliver the right amount of moisture for the variety of plants in your landscape without accidentally over-watering them. Watch for creating water run-off; if you see it happening, you’re overdoing it.

Get the Most Out of Your Sprinkler System Timer

Programming your sprinkler system controller does not have to be an irritating experience. Learn how your system is set up, familiarize yourself all the valves, learn about and understand the different sprinkler head types in your system, understand the needs of different plant types in your landscape, and you can achieve a suitable and sensible irrigation schedule with a minimal amount of hassle.

Tips To Improve Your Plant Care
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