Overwatering in Winter Can Encourage Pests and Disease
The Southwest Florida Water Management District is encouraging residents who irrigate their lawns to “Skip a Week” of watering during the cooler months of December, January and February.
According to research by the University of Florida, grass doesn’t need to be watered as often during the cooler months. One-half to three-quarters of an inch of water every 10–14 days is sufficient. Furthermore, if your lawn has received any significant rainfall, then you can turn off your irrigation system and operate it manually as needed.
“Overwatering in the winter can encourage pests and disease in your lawn,” said Sylvia Durell, Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ project manager. Skipping a week of watering is as easy as “off” for residents with irrigation timers. “Turn the timer to ‘off’ for the week that you want to skip and ‘on’ for the week that you want to water,” said Durell.
Homeowners should water lawns when 30 percent of the lawn shows signs of wilt. These signs can include leaf blades folded in half, blue-gray color and when footprints remain on the lawn for several minutes after walking on it.
Skipping a week of irrigation will help conserve drinking water supplies that the public needs for critical uses during the dry season. In fact, if everyone skipped one week of irrigation this season, it could save an estimated 1.7 billion gallons of water.
In addition to entering the dry season, the region experienced an extremely dry fall, with dry conditions expected to continue through next spring. All 16 counties within the District are under a Phase I water shortage alert. A Phase I alert is intended to raise the public’s awareness of dry conditions, and to direct water utilities and their local governments to prepare for worsening conditions.
For additional information about water restrictions and water conservation, contact your local utility or visit the District’s web site at WaterMatters.org/skipaweek/.