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Landscape Watering Guidelines

The costs of water maintenance, plant loss and replacement, and decreased property values are all financial impacts on homeowners. Recent local studies show that many landscapes are over-watered as much as 400 percent.

Overwatering encourages excessive growth diseases and other maintenance problems. Deep infrequent watering encourages strong healthy root systems that can better tolerate intense heat and periods of drought.
 
Effective irrigation system design, installation and maintenance are important. Sprinklers should serve only the required turf areas and not spray on buildings, fences or non-landscaped areas. Excess water on sidewalks, pavement and block walls causes damage, increases liability and wastes water. Watering should be done before sunrise to reduce evaporation losses. Turf areas, planters, trees and shrubs should be watered separately to meet varying water needs. Always irrigate the entire depth and width of the root zone regardless of the time of year. Automatic times and moisture sensors make it easier to manage irrigations. Once or twice a year, water twice as long to leach out salts and buildup in our soils.

 

Landscape Watering Guidelines

 
    Seasonal Frequency - Days Between Waterings Water This Deeply
    Spring
Mar - May
Summer
May - Oct
Fall
Oct - Dec
Winter
Dec - Mar
Trees

Desert Adapted

14 - 30 days 7 - 21 days 14 - 30 days 30 - 60 days 24" - 36"
 

High Water Use

7 - 12 days 7 - 10 days 7 - 12 days 14 - 30 days 24" - 36"
Shrubs

Desert Adapted

14 - 30 days 7 - 21 days 14 - 30 days 30 - 45 days 18" - 24"
 

High Water Use

7 - 10 days 5 - 7 days 7 - 10 days 10 - 14 days 18" - 24"
Groundcovers and Vines

Desert Adapted

14 - 30 days 7 - 21 days 14 - 30 days 21 - 45 days 8" - 12"
 

High Water Use

7 - 10 days 2 - 5 days 7 - 10 days 10 - 14 days 8" - 12"
Cacti and Succulents

21 - 45 days

14 - 30 days 21 - 45 days If needed 8" - 12"
Annuals 3 - 7 days 2 - 5 days 3 - 7 days 5 - 10 days 8" - 12"
Warm Season Grass (Bermuda, etc) 4 - 14 days 3 - 6 days 6 - 21 days 15 - 30 days 6" - 10"
Cool Season Grass
(Rye, Fescue)
3 - 7 days None 3 - 10 days 7 - 14 days 6" - 10"
 
These guidelines are for established plants (1 year for shrubs, 3 years for trees). Additional water is needed for new plantings or unusually hot or dry weather. Less water is needed during cool or rainy weather. Drip run times are typically 2 hours or more for each watering.

 

Watering Schedule for Newly Planted Desert Adapted Plants
 
 

How much and How Often Spring Summer Fall Winter
  Mar - May May - Oct Oct - Dec Dec - Mar
         
Weeks 1 and 2

every 3 - 4 days

every 1 - 2 days every 3 - 4 days every 3 - 4 days
Weeks 3 and 4 every 6 - 7 days every 3 - 4 days every 6 - 7 days every 6 - 7 days
Weeks 5 and 6 every 7 - 10 days every 4 - 6 days every 7 - 10 days every 7 - 10 days
Weeks 7 and 8 every 10 - 14 days every 7 days every 10 - 14 days every 10 - 14 days
After Week 8 Gradually extend the time between irrigations until plants are established.
         
NOTE: After the eighth week, move the drip emitters to the outer edge of the root ball. High water-use plants may require more frequent irrigations. Water deeply to 24 - 36 inches for trees, 18 - 24 inches for shrubs, 8 - 12 inches for ground cover, vines, cactus, succulents and annuals, and 6 - 10 inches for warm and cool season grasses.
 
Based on information provided by the University of Arizona and Arizona Municipal Water Users