Water infrequently but deeply to moisten the whole root zone
- For lawns, a loss of shine or the lingering presence of footprints indicate that it's time to water.
- If your soil is dry or compacted, stop watering for a while and then restart; this prevents runoff.
- Vegetables and other annuals should be watered at the first sign of droop, or about one inch a week.
- Trees and shrubs usually don't need to be watered once they are fully established (2 to 4 years).
Make every drop count
- Water in the early morning; plant leaves dry out and this prevents fungal disease.
- Use mulch around plants to hold in moisture.
- Choose native plants.
- Use timers, soaker hoses or drip irrigation to manage water use.
- Don't water the sidewalk.
Let the rain soak in
- Direct downspouts out onto lawns and garden beds.
- Use open pavers, gravel or other types of pavement that let rain in.
- Create swales to direct rooftop rain toward your plants.
If you have an irrigation system
- Inspect the system once a month - look for leaks or heads that are plugged or misdirected.
- Test and adjust the system annually and make any necessary repairs.
- Install a rain shutoff device.
- Adjust the watering schedule throughout the growing season - plants need a lot less water in May and September than they do in July and August.