A Dry Florida Winter: How Should I Irrigate?

Coastal Irrigation shares how to irrigate during a dry winter in Southwest Florida

Southwest Florida’s dry season is expected to be especially dry this year, according to the National Weather Service in Melbourne. Its latest forecast shows La Niña conditions developing over the Pacific Ocean that could increase winter temperatures and reduce Florida’s expected rainfall dramatically. So, what does that mean for your lawn and outdoor landscaping?

Because of the expected dry Florida winter (October through May), many areas have implemented watering restrictions that limit the number of days you can water, the time of day you can water, and the amount of time you can water each zone. The average rainfall in Southwest Florida during the dry season is about 3 inches per month. Because of the lower rainfall, the water level in wells, rivers, lakes and springs decline, making it even more important that businesses and homeowners come up with an irrigation plan to counteract these hot and dry conditions.

This time of year is when plants and lawns in the area become very stressed. And even though many municipalities limit the number of days and times you can irrigate your yard, it is still important to find a happy balance between the two.

At Coastal Irrigation & Plumbing, we can help you design an irrigation system that offers different water release options based on seasonal demand and water restrictions and still make sure your landscaping is getting an adequate amount of water.

All of our irrigation systems, including drip irrigation systems, use adjustable timers and flow control irrigation heads. Let us help you design the most efficient system for your needs.

Watering tips for southwest Florida’s dry season

According to the Southwest Florida Water Management District, there are a number of ways to save water outdoors during the state’s dry winter months.

  •       Install an irrigation system. Most irrigation systems are programmable, allowing you to manage the amount of water that is spread over different areas of your property. Areas with brown spots or crunchy, dry vegetation, might need a bit more water than shady areas that stay cool longer.
  •       Water slowly. This allows you to reduce runoff and ensure that the water is reaching the roots of your plants.
  •     Be on schedule. Make sure your irrigation system is programmed to only water on the days you are allowed to water under your neighborhood’s watering schedule.
  •         Cooler times matter. Set your irrigation system to water during the cooler morning or evening hours to reduce the amount of evaporation and to allow your landscaping and lawn to retain a larger percentage of the moisture.
  •         Watch for stress. Don’t just water your lawn on Monday because you always water your lawn on Monday. Make sure you are paying attention to signs of stress in your vegetation, while also adhering to your city’s watering rules. Many irrigation systems have moisture sensors that will automatically turn your system on when water is needed.
  •     Know your zone. To figure out how long you should water each zone in your yard, the Southwest Florida Water Management District recommends placing empty cups or cans around your sprinkler heads and running your system for 15 minutes. The ideal amount of water during that time frame should be about ½ to ¾ of an inch of water. If the water in the cups is more than that, you need to adjust the system’s flow and the amount of time it is watering. The experts at Coastal Irrigation & Plumbing are always here to help determine the correct plan for you.
  •         Don’t waste water or overwater. Make sure you turn off your irrigation system when it rains. Florida irrigation systems are required to have rain shutoff devices.
  •         Reduce weed growth. Use drip irrigation systems for your bedded plants and shrubbery because they reduce the amount of evaporation from the system and reduce weed growth due to overwatering.

Your lawn and landscaping are big investments, so you should protect it with a properly designed and professionally installed irrigation system. 

At Coastal Irrigation & Plumbing, we offer expert irrigation system repairs, installations, and replacements on most irrigation systems on the market today. A worry-free annual maintenance plan that ensures your irrigation system is always working at peak efficiency will keep your landscaping beautiful this winter and throughout the whole year.