A big mistake many people make that hurts their lawns and landscapes in the spring is turning off their sprinklers in the winter. It is a common misconception that you don’t have to water in the winter since the lawn and landscape isn’t actively growing. The mindset is if it’s dormant during winter, why water?
Most plants like water all winter long. If you have St. Augustine grass, watering in the winter may be more important than your summer watering. It’s a tropical plant so it’s unhappy in 110 degree weather but it hates 20 degree weather. The most common killer of St. Augustine is from freezing but it’s rare to see winter damage to it if the homeowner has been watering regularly all winter long – in fact, unless you have chosen a really sensitive plant, it’s rare to see winter damage of any plants over the winter if they’ve been watered correctly.
Each week during the winter your soil typically loses about 1/4″ of water so you want to water about 10 minutes per zone per week, twice that if the zone has rotors (sprinkler heads that turn). Some controllers have a “Seasonal Adjust” spot on their dial that you can adjust.
Another reason to water regularly in the winter is to help the pre-emergent treatments that are applied to many yards. This helps spread and push it into the soil which is what creates the barrier to prevent the weed seeds from sprouting.
Wise winter watering will save you money and help your lawn thrive!