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Make sure your irrigation system is hibernating

In fall, winter and early spring, irrigation systems are mostly unnecessary. Do yourself and your wallet a favor and put them to bed for a long nap.

We are way below our annual rainfall — only 1917 was worse — and unfortunately a small percentage of plants will perish here next summer. Still, this is not our first drought. Thankfully our ecosystem is extremely resilient.

That said, your irrigation system should already be in a deep slumber. Plants are dormant so they don’t need much water and you’ll save money on your sewer service charge for 2023.

Follow this easy irrigation system checklist.

Clock: Make sure the time, date, and year are correct.

9-volt battery: Replace the 9-volt battery in the controller. This will keep the time, date, year, and installed schedule correct.

One last checkup: Do a final test of the entire system to verify there are no broken lines or heads, or stuck valves. If everything is functioning properly, turn the system off until March. Until then, run it manually once or twice during the winter in the absence of rainfall.

Install a shut-off valve: Speed matters when a pipe break or leak threatens to damage your home. These gadgets allow you to cut off water to your home in a flash. There’s even a rebate for it!

Holiday watering method: If we are below normal rainfall, this winter, I suggest running the irrigation system once or twice December-March, specifically during the week of a holiday.

Mark Peterson
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.
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