Joaquin sunflower: (Bidens laevis) is an eye-catching native that works well in wetter sections of the garden, such as bioswales or near water features, but it also thrives in a typical Southern California flower bed. It is great for attracting butterflies with its autumn blooms and will draw birds closer to winter when the flowers have gone to seed.

Watering and gardening tips for September

by Juan Garcia

It’s hard to believe that summer is nearly over, but don’t let the September heat fool you about your garden.

The season’s hot, dry Santa Ana winds frequently send people turning up the dial on their irrigation cycles, thinking, “If I’m thirsty, my lawn must be, too.”

That’s the wrong approach to watering in the fall, and here’s why.

As the days grow shorter, plants start to go dormant, and they don’t need as much water. This is when their biological processes slow down. In fact, many deciduous plants will start to lose their leaves at this time of year.

What does that mean for your irrigation schedule?

September is the time to start turning down the dial and water less than you did in August – by 30%.

For the most effective watering schedule, we recommend multiple irrigation cycles of shorter periods to allow the water to soak in and penetrate the roots of your plants. For turfgrass, you might run three 3-minute cycles four days a week in August but only two 3-minute cycles in September.

And remember, just because your early summer flowers are finishing up, it doesn’t mean you can’t plant some fall favorites to beautify your yard through Thanksgiving.

Apart from the time of year, how much you water depends on the type of plant and whether it is located in full or partial sun.

Check out the watering guide below or visit wateringguide.com for more details.

Juan Garcia is Irvine Ranch Water District’s water-efficiency specialist. You can learn more about the district’s water conservation programs, gardening tips, workshops and rebates at
rightscapenow.com.


 

Try These Fall Choices

California goldenrod: (Solidago velutina ssp. californica) This hearty native blooms in fall, when many other plants have gone dormant. Birds and pollinating insects love this perennial herb, whose creeping rootstock spreads quickly over open areas, producing clusters of yellow flowers that pop with color even with little watering.
Alpine Cleveland sage: (Salvia clevelandii) Cleveland sage is a popular, long-blooming native plant, but the Alpine variety (from San Diego County, not Switzerland), is a good addition to wildlife gardens. Discovered in the Cuyamaca Mountains, it tolerates most soil types, will grow in sun and part shade, and thrives along the coast and in inland areas.
Joaquin sunflower: (Bidens laevis) is an eye-catching native that works well in wetter sections of the garden, such as bioswales or near water features, but it also thrives in a typical Southern California flower bed. It is great for attracting butterflies with its autumn blooms and will draw birds closer to winter when the flowers have gone to seed.