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With approximately 60 percent of Southern Nevada's water used outdoors, it's important to ensure you're managing your outdoor water use efficiently. Learn how to keep your landscape healthy, while keeping your water use to a minimum.
Cold weather tips
- Fertilize in late September or early October with a balanced mix of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Fertilizer improves turf quality, root growth, and builds cold resistance into your grass.
- To get your landscape through winter, fertilize again in November.
- If you have fruit trees, fertilize them in late winter for the best results.
Freeze and frost
If you notice a plant has been damaged by frost or freeze, leave it alone until warmer weather arrives and new growth appears. Pruning or transplanting a damaged plant during winter months can hurt or even kill it. To protect plants from freezing temperatures:
- Avoid getting water on leaves and petals when watering and add a layer of protective mulch.
- Cover plants with porous materials (old sheets, towels, burlap) at night.
- Use a nitrate fertilizer.
- To stimulate new crown growth, lower your lawnmower's height to 1½ inches.
- Aerate grass in September or October to resolve compacted soil and boost water penetration, reduce runoff on slopes, and help water and fertilizer nutrients get down to the roots.
Pipes and hoses
- Disconnect and drain garden hoses when they are not being used.
- Insulate your irrigation backflow device by draping a towel over it and covering it with a bucket or other protective cover that touches the ground. Never obstruct or seal the ports of a backflow protection device.
- Wrap exposed irrigation pipes with pipe insulation, insulated "faucet socks," an old towel or duct tape.
- Don't leave interior or exterior pipes dripping. Las Vegas Valley temperatures generally aren’t extreme enough to warrant it.
- Locate your water shut-off valve and learn how to turn off water at its source, so you can ward off damage from leaks or burst lines. Know how to turn off your irrigation backflow device as well.
February is usually mild enough to allow you to plant petunias, pansies, snapdragons and other cool-season annuals in well-drained, highly-enriched soil. Stake new plants and water them deeply to prevent damage from winds.
Reduce the risk of damage to your pool during winter months with these tips:
- During freezing temperatures, run filtration and jet pumps continuously.
- Always maintain a proper pool water level.
- Adjust pool and spa jets upwards to reduce surface freezing.
- Repair all air and water leaks.
- Store pool accessories in a clean, dry area.
- Consult with your pool maintenance company about winterizing your pool.
The ideal time to prune trees and shrubs is in late winter, when plants are mostly dormant. Finish heavy pruning by mid-February, before buds show evidence of swelling. Don't prune more than one-quarter of the living tissue during the year.
When to water
Winter months are plagued with afternoon winds that keep your sprinklers from hitting their grassy targets. Water your yard in the midmorning to avoid them and reduce the risk of icing.
- Use a drip irrigation system to water trees and shrubs and water appropriately. Experts agree that running drip irrigation less frequently is much better for plants than daily watering.
- Fine tune watering times for each station to account for different watering requirements due to exposure, shade, and sprinkler output.
- Adjust your irrigation clock seasonally and comply with mandatory watering restrictions. Consider upgrading to a smart irrigation clock, if you haven't already.
- Check your sprinkler system once a week. Replace or repair broken or missing sprinklers.
- Once a month, check your drip irrigation system for breaks or clogs.
- Arrange sprinklers so that the spray of one sprinkler reaches the head of the sprinkler closest to it. Remove any obstructions and level sprinklers to grade to prevent spray blockage or tripping hazards. Ensure sprinklers aren't spraying walls, driveways, or sidewalks.
- Water shady areas about 30 percent less than sunny areas.