by Christina Mountanos, Water Conservation Specialist
|Did you remember to "fall back" your irrigation controller?
Setting our clocks back this past weekend means fall is really here, and has been! Though most of the clocks in my apartment update themselves these days (oh, technology!), each time a change rolls around, it reminds me that I have several other tasks to do, too. Besides putting the Halloween decorations away, this includes flipping or spinning my mattress and, more recently, remembering to check that my irrigation controller has been set back correctly! With our added regulations in place
, you’ll want to ensure your timer is still set to water outside of our prohibited 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. window.
And while you’re out there, it never hurts to check on a couple of other things, too. For one, consider testing and/or replacing the controller’s battery. On more than one occasion, I’ve visited a home where a controller inadvertently reverted back to factory settings after a power outage. In case you aren’t aware, reverting back to factory settings means the system runs every day, for 10 minutes—on each station! So if your battery isn’t fully charged or you can’t remember the last time you checked it, change it! Checking the battery only takes a few minutes and can save you the scare of an unexpected water bill showing up in time for the holidays.
|Irrigation controllers are a little like children—you need to keep an eye
on them to make sure they aren’t
getting into trouble.
The other thing you’ll want to verify is that your summer watering schedule has been appropriately reduced for fall (and that, once it starts raining, you turn off the system completely, only watering as needed). Though my neighbors and I frequently comment on the seemingly endless summers we’ve had over the past few years, don’t forget your plants only need about half as much water now as they did in July. Several weeks ago, a lovely Master Gardener pointed out to me that many of her neighbors do not make adjustments to their schedules for fall. How did she know? Lawns that previously showed signs of stress during the summer months (sprinkles of brown in them) have gradually turned green again!
Finally, were you able to take advantage of the district’s rebate on organic compost/mulch
this year? Fall is a great time to add compost to your landscape: The rains will help distribute the nutrients, and a thick layer of mulch can help protect plant roots from the harshness of winter. Plus, right now you can get up to $50!
Getting in the habit of adding a few more to-do’s to your fall list isn’t hard. And simple routines like these can save you time, money, and can benefit your plants. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”