When it comes to winter lawn watering in Texas, you want to ensure that your dormant grass is looked after and stays healthy until summer. Common winter lawn problems typically occur due to irrigation issues ‒ either watering too much or too little. The same goes for other plants in your garden.
Winters in Texas tend to be pretty mild. While this is nice, it can make it difficult to determine the exact signs for when to adjust your gardening techniques. These adjustments, while necessary, are more of a gradual shift rather than a sudden adjustment and can differ somewhat depending on which part of the state you’re in.
In Austin rainfall is pretty low during winter. While temperatures do drop in winter, they only tend to dip below 32F a handful of times throughout the season, mostly at night.
With that in mind, let us address a few commonly asked questions about irrigating your garden during the chilly season.
How Often Should You Water?
With the chance of rainfall being reasonably low throughout the winter months, you will need to give your garden a bit of water every week or two. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, though. If you notice that your plants are looking a little dry, then give them a drink.
The lower temperatures mean that evaporation will generally occur at a reduced rate, which means that moisture can linger in the soil for longer. You might find that you only need to water once a month, depending on the types of plants you have in your garden.
Can The Winter Temperatures Ruin a Lawn For The Spring?
Low temperatures generally cause lawn grass to become dormant for the season. However, it will spring back to life when the rains and the warmer temperatures return. You might notice your grass looking a little dry and losing its color during the winter, which is normal.
When the winter season draws to a close, use a rake or lawnmower to scarify the lawn before adding some compost and watering. This will ensure that the grass will grow back beautifully in the spring.
When Should You Turn Your Sprinkler System Off?
Many irrigation systems allow for seasonal adjustments. You should use this feature to lower the watering frequency to once every two or three weeks. However, as we said earlier, you must watch the weather and respond to your plants’ needs.
Generally, you want to keep your sprinklers off during the coldest nights of the year so that you don’t cause frost and ice to build up on the sprinkler heads or on your plants.
Do Your Trees, Plants, And Bushes Need Watering?
It depends on the kind of plants in your garden and whether or not they are indigenous to the area. Indigenous plants tend to be better at surviving the winter without your help, while foreign flora require a bit more attention.
The less sunny it is, the less evaporation will occur, which means less watering is required. However, most Texas winters tend to have more sunny blue skies than not. That said, even if there is persistent cloud cover for weeks on end ‒ which is unlikely ‒ you will need to give your garden a splash or two every other week if there is no rain.
What Problems Could Occur If Your Lawn Isn’t Watered During Winter?
While grass is dormant during winter and may appear dead, the roots are still alive underneath and require some moisture to stay alive throughout the season.
If they are allowed to dry out completely, the roots could die and result in dead patches that won’t recover in spring. If you don’t water your lawn during the winter, you open up the door for weeds to overtake and choke out patches of your lawn when spring rolls around. To avoid this and to avoid chunks of your lawn dying out, give your lawn a drink every other week or so.
Here at South Austin Irrigation, we do sprinkler/irrigation system repair helping you keep on top of your winter lawn problems. Make sure your garden and your dormant grass grow back in spring by ensuring that your irrigation system is in good condition. Contact us for help and advice today!