Turn Back Time

Turn Back Time

Daylight saving time ended Sunday, Nov. 4. Did you remember to adjust the clock on your irrigation controller, too?

For many of us, fall is the best time of the year as it brings cooler, more satisfying temperatures and a welcome change in the air.

One important change is the turning back of our clocks. But as you go through your normal routine of turning back the clocks, don't forget to change the time on the irrigation system clock and adjust the settings on the controller, too.

Plants do not need the water they did in August. The days are shorter, hours of sunshine are less and many plants lose their leaves in preparation for dormancy. As a result, plants transpire less water into the atmosphere and less moisture evaporates from the soil. Although plant roots continue to grow at a snail's pace throughout the winter, they don’t require a lot of hydration.

In short, the run time in August is totally inappropriate for November through February. Cut the run times on the controller by two thirds or use the seasonal adjust setting to decrease all the times to 40 percent or even 20 percent.

Also, make sure your controller isn't running unnecessary programs or start times. Most in-ground sprinkler system controllers need only one start time to run an entire series of zones.

Extra or "stacked" times can cause your water consumption to be as much as four times your average use.

Finally, in a fall where the month of September was the wettest on record and October has above normal rainfall, the easiest and best option is to simply turn OFF your irrigation system until March 2019.

Not sure how to accomplish all of this? The SAWS Conservation team provides FREE residential and commercial irrigation consultations. Call 210-704-SAVE (7283) or email us to schedule an appointment.

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Mark Peterson

About our expert

Mark Peterson

Mark A. Peterson is a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System. With over 30 years of experience as an urban forester and arborist, Mark is probably the only person you know who actually prunes trees for fun. When not expounding on the benefits of trees and limited lawns, you’re likely to find him hiking San Antonio’s wilderness parks or expounding on the virtues of geography and history to his friends.