During the fall and winter many plants, including grass, become dormant, requiring much less water than they do during the summer. So, now is a great time to reduce outside water usage, saving you money with a reduced water bill, but also conserving water for warmer months when plants are active. But with a drier than usual winter anticipated, how can people know if their lawn may need to be watered?
The City of Round Rock, in the Central part of the Brazos River basin, offers this tip: “Landscape can (and should) tolerate some stress, this builds up drought tolerance. An easy way to see if your turf needs water is to walk across it. If you still see your footprints after 15 seconds, then it needs water.”
“Water manually if needed. Irrigating during the winter months is usually not necessary.” The city utilities and environmental services department recommends turning off your irrigation system during winter months.
For the northern portions of the Brazos River basin, the North Texas Municipal Water District recommends applying 2 to 4 inches of mulch in landscape beds to help keep moisture closer to the plants, which reduces the need for watering in the fall and winter.
“Beginning November 1 and lasting until March 31 (the North Texas district) recommends the following strategies to keep lawns and landscapes healthy while also conserving water:
- Turn off automatic sprinklers. Not only will this save water, but it can prevent slippery accidents if water from the sprinklers freezes on streets and sidewalks during a cold snap.
- Consult weather-based irrigation tools such as WaterMyYard.org or the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Texas ET Network for watering advice.
- Cover the soil in your yard with nutrient-rich mulch or compost to provide a warm, moist layer to protect and winterize your landscape.
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