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Irrigation

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Adjust Your Sprinklers

  • Inspect your system for clogged, broken or missing sprinkler heads.
  • Connect. Examine points where the sprinkler heads connect to pipes or hoses. If water pools in your yard or you have large wet areas, you could have a leak in your system.
  • Direct sprinklers away from your driveway, house, or sidewalk in order to apply water only to your landscape.
  • Select a seasonally appropriate watering schedule that meets your landscape's minimum needs.

Irrigation Controllers

Programming

You should change the programming on your irrigation timer at least seasonally and check the back-up battery.
  • Spring: As the weather warms up and the soil starts to dry out, turn your irrigation timer back on but only water as much as needed for your landscape and the current weather conditions. Check your irrigation system and fix broken sprinkler heads or other problems.
  • Summer: Once it starts getting really warm outside, you can turn up your watering a bit. Remember to turn off the sprinklers for 30 minutes halfway through your complete watering time to allow the soil to absorb the water and prevent water run-off.
  • Fall: As the weather cools down, adjust your timer to water less.
  • Winter: When the weather cools and it begins to rain, turn your timer off.

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CalWEP Irrigation Controller Manufacturers List

How to Program Your Irrigation Controller (CalWEP Video)

 

Weather-Based Controllers

Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers (WBICs) automatically update your irrigation system based upon local weather and landscape conditions. Look for the WaterSense label on controllers for those certified through the USA EPA WaterSense Program. In order to earn the WaterSense label, irrigation controllers must be able to adequately meet the watering needs of a landscape without overwatering. View the WaterSense Labeled Irrigation Controllers Fact Sheet
 
Soil moisture-based irrigation controllers are another water efficient controller option. Soil moisture-based controllers use a probe buried in the soil at the root zone and are programmed to shut off an irrigation system when the ground is already wet, preventing overwatering.
 

Irrigation Association Testing for Weather-Based Controllers, Soil Moisture-Based Controllers and Rain Sensors

Rain Sensors

Rain sensors are switching devices activated by rainfall. Most rain sensors use an absorbent disk that swells when wet and turns off the irrigation system during a rainfall event. Once the disk dries out, the rain sensor turns the system turns back on.   Learn more about Rain Sensors.

Convert to Drip

AdvantagesTip_Sheet_Outdoor_Twitter_Drip_irrigation

  • Can be more water efficient if used properly
  • Minimizes evaporation
  • Promotes a good soil/water environment

Disadvantages

  • Emitters may clog
  • Not as easy to see when not working properly
  • Can be damaged by animals, insects and humans

Drip Irrigation Types and Details: Water Conservation Irrigation Practices (Yolo County Master Gardeners-UCCE)

Save Our Water Drip Irrigation Conversion Videos

How to Convert Sprinklers to Drip (Regional Water Authority Video)

Efficient Lawn Watering

sprinklerFollowing the irrigation tips above and adjusting the programing on your irrigation controller will help with efficient lawn watering. Two online irrigation calculators that can help in determining lawn watering needs are:

UC Guide to Healthy Lawns (Irrigation Scheduler)

Sacramento Region Smart Irrigation Scheduler

Weather (Rainfall) Information

UC Davis Atmospheric Science Daily Weather Observations

California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) - choose Davis from the station list

*Weather (Rainfall) Information is provided for informational purposes only.

Irrigation Resources

California Landscape Contractors Association

EcoLandscape California

EPA WaterSense "Adding Microirrigation to Your Services: A Mini-Guide for Irrigation Professionals" 

EPA WaterSense Outdoor

EPA WaterSense "Saving Water with Microirrigation: A Homeowner Guide"

Homeowner’s Guide to a WaterSmart Landscape

Irrigation Association

Yolo County Master Gardeners (UCCE)

Water Conservation Irrigation Practices (Yolo County Master Gardeners)

Watering Mature Trees (Save Our Water Video)

Watering Young Trees (Save Our Water Video)