When (Not) to Water
One of the most hotly talked about topics when it comes to watering your yard is: When do I water? or another version is: Does it need water? Is the answer "on Wednesday", because that's my day? Or when the plant actually needs it?? You can probably guess the right answer, but it's hard to know when, exactly, the plant needs it. I can help you determine when it doesn't need it.
With the rain showers we've had recently, it may not be necessary to water at all. Knowing how much rain has fallen in your yard helps make the first--and really, most important--decision for you: is it even necessary for me to water today? The rainfall measurements I take at my house don't always match up to the City's collected amounts at the Water Treatment Plant (which aren't too far apart), so I highly encourage you to take your own rainfall measurement.
The rule of thumb is that half an inch of water is enough on a weekly basis for the spring, fall, and parts of summer. Less than that is needed in winter. More, during the heat of summer. So having a rain gauge, any simple one, is the first way to judge if water is needed. All you have to do is check the gauge to see how much rain your house recieved, if close to 1/2-inch or greater, then no watering is needed. Easy!
To help make that even easier for you, the City's Water Conservation Program is giving out free rain gauges like the one pictured. You can pick one up at the Utility Billing Office in City Hall (limit one per address). There's a limited supply, of course, but try to get one if you can.
Now, thanks to Mother Nature's rainfall, you can leave your irrigation system off for about a week for every half inch of rain--depending on the current temperatures. With the current storms and the temperatures in the low 90s, no outdoor watering is necessary for the next week. Enjoy letting nature do the work for you!