Six things everyone should know about watering efficiently:
- Apply only enough water to moisten the root zone of your plants (6 to 8 inches deep), then allow the soil to dry before watering again. This means: In clay soils, water no more than one inch per week. This is enough to moisten your plants' roots. In thin Hill Country soils, apply a maximum of ½ inch of water twice a week. See recommended water schedule.
- Water when the sun is down. No sun and less wind means that the water reaches the roots of your plants rather than evaporating before it hits the ground.
- Use low-angle sprinklers that produce droplets of water. Sprinklers that spray water high into the air or produce a mist lose water through evaporation.
- Use multiple start times or a "cycle and soak" feature. This allows water to be applied a little at a time, eliminating run-off, and is especially helpful for sloped areas and areas with clay soil.
- Aim before you shoot: Direct sprinklers toward your lawn and away from sidewalks and driveways.
- Use drip irrigation for shrub beds, gardens and trees. Drip irrigation systems apply water directly to the root, where it does the most good, and reduces water loss from evaporation. Make sure you slow the flow so the water has time to soak —instead of running off.