Question of the Week: February 9, 2017
“Neil, how often should I be running my sprinklers during these winter dry spells?”
When I referred to that as a question that was impossible to answer, it was because there are so many variables that go into the decision. Just for starters, they include temperature, wind, soil type, types of plants and ages of those plants. It makes a huge difference to have had warm, windy weather versus cold, cloudy days.
But trying to bring some simplicity to our overly complicated lives, let me just say that I water when my lawn and landscape have had no rainfall for two or three weeks. I usually notice that bare soil in my beds has turned a lighter color. When feeling that soil I can realize that it’s dry an inch or two down. Those are times that I water. And I’m especially sure that my plants are moist if extreme cold is in the near forecast. Dry plants suffer much more winterkill than plants that are properly hydrated.
Otherwise, I keep my sprinkler system turned off and in the “Manual” mode during the winter. There have been years that I didn’t water at all. This year, I’ve watered twice, one of them earlier this week. That’s in rural Collin County north of Dallas. Clay soils. Well-established plantings.