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The University of California has several publications that explain how to test your sprinkler system to determine the number of minutes and days needed to irrigate a lawn, depending on the month of the year. For additional information, go to the UC Davis website.

Water Saving Tips for Trees

Contrary to what you may think, a dying tree may be the result of too much water. When first planted, a brand new lawn and tree require daily irrigation, but after the first month, the watering schedule needs to be changed to allow both the lawn and the tree to establish deep roots and become more drought tolerant. Here are few tips on how to properly water your trees and lawns:

  • Despite Chico’s hot summers, it is important to water lawns and the trees growing in them less frequently, but long enough so the water percolates at least six to eight inches deep.
  • Keeping lawns too wet on the surface with everyday watering encourages surface rooting of landscape trees and can lead to root diseases in both the lawn and the tree. The soil needs to dry out slightly between waterings so oxygen can enter the soil and carbon dioxide given off by the roots can escape.
  • It is best to apply water every two to three days per week during the other months of the growing season. In most years, it is not necessary to irrigate at all during the months of December to March.
  • On average, sprinklers should run no more than 17-20 minutes. If you get run-off during this duration, set the timer to run in several shorter watering intervals.
  • Water early in the morning between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Never water in the heat of the day, because water will be lost to evaporation before it even reaches the lawn.
  • Keep the lawn cut away from the trunk of the tree. Research shows that trees grow much faster and healthier if the lawn is kept back at least three feet from the trunk.
  • Click here for more ways to nurture your street tree.