Weekly Watering Schedules

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The amount of water your plants need and when it is needed changes with the weather, length of day, and root depth. Regularly adjust the watering schedule of your automatic irrigation system (unless you have a smart timer) to maintain healthy, beautiful plants and avoid wasting water.

In the Pacific Northwest the watering season usually lasts from April to September. Check this page weekly for advice on programing your sprinkler timer for the upcoming week. 

This week’s watering advice

  • Updated: Thursday, June 13th
  • Conditions: Spring rains have saturated the soil and it’s been mild and cloudy off and on! 
  • Watering Recommendation: Watering established plants is unnecessary for the next week. Inspect your soil with a shovel or soil probe and wait to water your plants until the soil is dry. 
A photo of a smart sprinkler timer.

This week’s tip

A smart sprinkler timer connects to your Wi-Fi or a small onsite weather station and waters according to the current regional weather. Studies show these timers may reduce water use by up to 25% while keeping plants healthy. Interested? Learn if you qualify for up to a $100 sprinkler timer rebate!

Choosing the right run time for your system

Each watering should apply a ½ inch of water. The application rate of a sprinkler system depends on the water pressure, system design, and system efficiency. Below are some general ranges of typical run times based on the precipitation rate of your sprinkler heads:

Head Type Nozzle DescriptionRun Time* for a ½ inchIf Using Cycles**
Shows a sprinkler head spraying water in a wide, flat, fan-shaped stream. Spray Head Sprays like a fan 15-23 minutes3 cycles of 5-8 minutes
Rotor Head Single spray that rotates 30-75 minutes3 cycles of 10-25 minutes
MSMT Head Multiple single sprays that rotate 50-75 minutes3 cycles of 17-25 minutes
*Runtimes calculations: Each sprinkler nozzle type has a specific precipitation rate measured in inches per hour. Spray nozzles operate between 1.3 and 2 inches per hour. Rotor nozzles operate between 0.4 and 1.0 inches per hour. MSMT nozzles, or multi-stream multi-trajectory nozzles, operate between 0.4 and 0.6 inches per hour. From these ranges the runtimes were calculated to water a ½ inch.

**Cycling Recommendation:To prevent runoff and ponding in areas with clay soils and/or slopes, divide the run times into three cycles to allow the ground to absorb the water. Additional cycles are created by utilizing more than one start time combined with shorter runtimes. 

Weekly watering advice straight to your inbox

Sign up for the Weekly Watering Advice Email. We’ll send you a short email once a week with our watering advice and tip between April and October each year.

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