Helping your landscape through a drought


Two day a week watering schedules and limited water supplies may have you thinking about the best ways to help your landscape survive the summer heat.

Here are some tips to remember:

  • Consider “Soak and Cycle” for your lawn. Soak and Cycle involves breaking watering cycles into shorter soaks and cycling it more often. This will allow the water to soak into the soil more quickly and avoid evaporation. To do this, turn on sprinklers and see how long it takes for water to begin running off. Adjust your sprinkler timer to water in three shorter segments. (If water begins running off after two minutes – but your landscape needs six minutes of watering time – set your timer to water in three shorter segments of two minutes each. Leave an hour between watering times to allow water to soak into the soil.
  • Prioritize your plants into three categories. High value/must save (including valuable trees and shrubs that have taken years to establish, will die without water and have many benefits); Moderate value/try to save (including certain perennials, newer shrubs that can be replaced and low-water use and native plants that will require little water anyway once established); andLow value/save if possible (including lawn, which can often bounce back successfully from drying out, and annuals). Use limited supplies to water high-value trees and plants first. This will help them survive the drought. If there is sufficient water, move on to the moderate- and low-value plants.
  • Mulch. Mulch. Mulch. Adding mulch to your planting beds will help the soil retain the water and add a layer of protection to your plants roots.
  • Befriend the Bucket.Place buckets in your kitchen and bathroom sinks to capture water that can then be put on plants outside. If you take a bath, don’t drain the water. Instead, use buckets to haul the bath water outside. You can also keep a bucket in the shower to capture water as it warms up. Be sure to use plant-friendly soaps (biodegradable, non-toxic, sodium and borax free) to avoid harming your plants.


For more watering tips and to find your assigned watering days, please visit