Watering in Arizona: What is the right amount?

Our customers often ask us, “How often should I be watering?” Here in Arizona, drip irrigation systems should be seasonally adjusted to accommodate for warmer or cooler weather.

One of the most common errors we find is irrigation timers are set for watering too frequently and for too short of a time. For example, if you are watering every day for 20 minutes, year round, with a 1 gallon per hour emitter, that’s less than 1.5 quarts of water hitting dry hard dirt. Basically, that’s the equivalent of pouring out a Big Gulp on your yard. Very little of this water will actually get down to the deep roots of the plant/tree. It will simply evaporate in the first fraction of an inch of soil.

The goal of drip irrigation is deep, thorough watering which needs to be tailored to the type of material we are watering. Also, watering TIMES should stay constant while we add/subtract watering days depending on weather.

• Plants should be watered for 2-3 hours per cycle, with up to 3 cycles a week in summer, and as few as 2/3 cycles per month in the winter.
• Grass watering – The importance of a health and well maintained lawn is key to keeping its water use low. A dethatched, healthy lawn has an open canopy with loose soils and a sand base. This allows the water to get all the way to the soil/roots instead of getting hung up in the thatch. Watering should last as long as necessary to see water just begin to stand. Under an ideal circumstance, approx 3/4 of an inch of water per cycle is appropriate.

Another key tip for watering is Arizona is the time of day. We recommend a few hours before sunrise, it is usually an off-peak rate (which is a nice bonus) and it allows your lawn to use water efficiently while reducing loss to evaporation.

You will know if you are overwatering by a few key indicators:
• Your lawn is soggy
• You see puddles all over the lawn after you have just watered
• You are seeing mushrooms in your lawn

Should you have any further questions about watering in Arizona, please don’t hesitate to call us at (480) 483-8088.

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