In Southern California Irrigation is essential. We are very lucky in Santa Clarita to have the option of getting a free WBIC from our water companies to help us through this drought BUT having a WBIC is not enough.
We have been getting unseasonable heat waves, bouts of Santa Ana months before they usually effect us, and cold temps topping them all off. Having an automatic irrigation system is essential in Southern California, but you can’t put your mind on automatic as well. It is essential that you go outside and look at your plants, your lawn (if you still have it) and check both your irrigation system and the timer on a regular basis.
Last week was super windy and hot and it was April/May! I got three frantic calls/texts from clients saying that their irrigation system wasn’t set properly. NOT! Sometimes you just have to get out there and adjust things. With the crazy wind, the spray from your sprinklers aren’t always going to get where it needs to go. That means you have to go out and turn on and extra cycle, or add some minutes, or change the timing of your watering. Yes, you have the WBIC and it is supposed to do things for you BUT – sometimes the circumstances go beyond the capability of your controller, however if you have your eyes open and you react quickly your plants will be fine.
Here are somethings you can do:
1. Learn your timer! It is essential that you don’t rely on your landscape janitor (they rarely know how your timer works) or even the landscape contractor you hired to install the irrigation (they could be out of town one day) then what do you do? Take some time with the installer and ask questions. Have them show you how to do some simple things like add time, take it off Automatic, check to see if the weather station is connected. You can read the manual but a good contractor will be happy to spend some time helping you.
2. Go outside once a day and take a walk around, especially if you have new plantings. *Note – if you have new plantings your timer should NOT be on Auto until they are established!
3. Touch the soil, yes – you can! Put a finger into the soil and see if it is wet down by the plant’s roots. This goes double for containers!
4. Get to know what a well watered (not over watered) plant looks like and what a crispy fried under fed plant looks like.
Poor, poor thyme in a container – missed water in the wind, it will come back
5. Put extra water on your lawn if you fertilize. Ditto for the plants – if it is very HOT wait to fertilize.
6. Don’t stress, just take a nice casual walk around regularly and this will all become second nature to you.
I know we are now experiencing cooler temps, but last week just bowled me over – so I had to write this now. Bookmark it and re-read this again in August, you’ll be glad you did.
I enjoy collaborating with my clients to create the garden that suits them best. I can design for you, design and implement, or by popular demand – help you sort out the next steps you want to take in your garden. If you are interested in any or all of the above call me at 661-917-3521 or visit my website and contact me there.