If you want to protect your landscape from freeze damage, don’t turn off your sprinkler system in the winter. Granted you don’t need to water as much as you would in the summer, but watering a small amount during winter will make sure your lawn and landscape are ready for the spring growing season and protected against freeze damage.
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.
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.
For more information helpful lawn and landscape information visit the Village Green Resource Center (helpful links to your city watering guidelines as well as our downloadable Village Green Watering Guide.)
If you need more help please don’t hesitate to contact us at 972-495-6990 or [email protected]. I’d be happy to help walk you through the process to make sure your sprinkler is ready for winter. For those who want more advanced help, we offer affordable sprinkler system inspections, tune-ups, and sprinkler control replacement that will guarantee appropriate and adequate water coverage for your lawn.