Every year in spring I get amnesia about watering my vegetables and fruit trees, as if I have to figure out anew how much and how often to water them, as if I have no record of my irrigation schedules that have worked in the past. Relax, Greg. Use those records to guide this season’s irrigation.
Vegetables, strawberries, and blueberries
June– every 2 days for 25 minutes each time (about 6.5 hours during the month)
July– every 2 days for 30 minutes each time (about 7.5 hours during the month)
August– every 2 days for 35 minutes each time (about 8.5 hours during the month)
September– every 2 days for 25 minutes each time (about 6 hours during the month)
Avocados, citrus, and cane berries
June– every 4 days for 2.5 hours each time (about 18 hours during the month)
July– every 4 days for 3 hours each time (about 23 hours during the month)
August– every 3 days for 3 hours each time (about 29 hours during the month)
September– every 4 days for 2.5 hours each time (about 20 hours during the month)
Deciduous fruit trees and grapevines
June– every 10 days for 3 hours each time (about 9 hours during the month)
July– every 9 days for 3.5 hours each time (about 12 hours during the month)
August– every 8 days for 2.5 hours each time (about 10 hours during the month)
September– every 10 days for 2.5 hours each time (about 7.5 hours during the month)
Note on irrigation methods
These run times can only be meaningful if you know which kind of irrigation methods I’m using. For my vegetables and strawberries, I use 0.5 gallon-per-hour emitters spaced every 9 inches. (And if a vegetable bed is wide, I use two or three drip lines.) For my blueberries, I use micro-sprayers that wet under the whole area of each bush.
For my avocados, I use micro-sprinklers of varying outputs but always with the wetted pattern out to the canopy edge of the trees. For my citrus trees and cane berries (raspberries and boysenberries), I use the same drip lines as on my vegetables but in circles under the tree canopies or berry bush canopies.
For my deciduous fruit trees (apricot, peach, apple, etc.), I use micro-sprinklers as on my avocados. For my grapevines, I use two drip emitters per vine, each emitter putting out 0.5 gallons per hour.
How I actually use the schedules
Though in the schedules I list the watering as happening every X days, I prefer to water on specific days of the week instead because that makes it easier for me to remember when the water is going to turn on.
Therefore, when I program my timers I choose Monday and/or Wednesday and/or Friday. For example, in June instead of watering my zone of avocados, citrus, and cane berries every 4 days for 2.5 hours each time, I’ll program the timer to run every Monday and Friday for 2 hours each time. This still applies about 18 hours’ worth of irrigation for the month.
How you might make use of my schedules
I’ve shared these watering schedules because I always gain from hearing about other people’s watering routines. Sometimes they inspire me to try something different — higher frequency, for example. And sometimes they just affirm that how I’ve been watering is likely about right since it is similar to how someone else waters.
I don’t suggest that my schedules will work perfectly in your yard. Unless you live next door and are using the same irrigation methods, then they’re just a reference point.
And do know that the schedules don’t even work perfectly in my yard. If there’s a heat wave, for example, I must go off schedule and water as necessary. And I try to check soil moisture often, which sometimes leads to skipping a scheduled irrigation because it’s unnecessary.
By the way, I created the above schedules for this year through averaging the schedules that I used over the past three years.
What about October through May?
Finally, what about October through May? In Southern California, there’s rain potential in those months, and the weather is variable, so I don’t usually use a schedule or my timers. But from June through September we are reliably dry and warm, and during this period it can save time and headache to set an irrigation timer on a watering schedule. I’ve shared mine for 2020, I wish you success with yours.
A list with links to all of my Yard Posts about watering and other topics is HERE.