How Much Should You Water in the Winter?

Winter is coming!  It will officially be here on Monday, December 21st which means now is time to get your sprinkler system prepared for winter watering in North Texas.

I know it may seem strange to be sending out watering instructions in light of the record breaking rain we have received this fall,  but the biggest mistake you can make is turning off your sprinklers during winter.  If I know anything about North Texas weather it is that it will be unpredictable.  Take 2015 for example, we not only set a record for the most rainfall, we also had a four month drought.  All in one year!  

Yes, the weather gurus are predicting a wet winter, and they might even be right, but I personally learned a long time ago to take their predictions with a grain of salt, and always advise our customers to be prepared.

That means you need to set your sprinkler system for winter watering in the next week or so and then monitor the rainfall as we move into winter.

So, how much watering is enough water in winter?  

Consider this, in the winter your soil will lose on average, 1/4 inch of water per week.  To help illustrate, imagine filling a gallon bucket with water and setting it out in your yard. When you check your bucket a week later, you’re going to find it still has water, but you’ve lost about 1/4 inch from evaporation.  That’s what happens to your lawn and landscape during the winter and if you skip watering for weeks (or months) you’re going to make the roots of your plants more susceptible to freeze damage.

Again, many make the mistake of thinking they can turn their sprinklers off during winter but that is NOT the case. 

Granted you don’t need to water as much as you would in the summer, but watering a small amount during winter will protect your lawn and landscape from freeze damage.  It also insures you lawn and landscape are ready for the spring growing season.

Another reason to water regularly is that any pre-emergent treatments that are applied to your lawn need water to spread and push them into the soil.  This process is what creates the barrier in the soil to prevent the weed seeds from sprouting in late winter and early spring.  A pre-emergent can survive a couple of weeks without water, but after that it will disappear and not be effective.

Most plants in our area like water all winter long.  Take St. Augustine as an example.  It is a tropical plant so it hates the cold.  In fact, watering your St. Augustine lawn in the winter may be more important than your summer watering since the biggest killer of it is freezing.  As long as your landscape has been watered correctly, I very rarely see winter damage over the winter months – even a tropical plant like St. Augustine.

Download our Free Village Green Winter Watering Guide  

If you have questions or need help from one of certified sprinkler technicians, give us a call at 972-495-6990 or email me at [email protected].  We offer affordable sprinkler system inspections and tune-ups that will guarantee appropriate and adequate water coverage for your lawn. Our certified irrigation technicians can also install water-conserving nozzles and applicators so that water usage is as efficient as possible.