This schedule is based on assumptions and generalizations. It excludes important irrigation factors like soil type and microclimate (sunny vs shady areas).
There are ranges for you to aim for, and to help you make decisions about appropriate water use for your situation. It’s a place to start, to help you sort out efficient watering in your own landscape.
How to use this irrigation schedule
The low end of each range assumes your system is in optimal condition. If it is newly installed or recently tuned up, start with this end of the range.
The high end of each range assumes your system is in average condition. If it’s been a while since you did any work on your sprinkler system, use this end of the range.
Important: if you currently water more than the high end of the range, slowly move your plants to this schedule, as you’re currently overwatering. Also, if you currently water less than the low end of the range and your plants are happy — keep up the good work!
When to add more time
- If you live in a very windy area
- Your system is poorly maintained or has very high water pressure (55+ PSI)
- You have newly-installed plants that are not yet established
- If your plants are showing signs of water stress
When to subtract time
- If you have mature desert-adapted trees
- For very shady areas
Caution! Do not make big changes to your irrigation schedule (unless you are obviously overwatering or under watering) as your plants are accustomed to their current regime. Carefully raise or lower your run times by 1-2 minutes at a time. Wait at least a week and observe if the plants still look like they’re doing okay before adjusting further.
Click any month to open a larger version
Credits and caveat: the original version was prepared by Jessyca Frederick in 2014 and may not reflect how climate change is impacting our summers (or our winters). The format was updated by Clare Piaget ahead of the 2022 Desert Garden Day event.