Rules of Thumb on Watering

These were provided by Rudy Benavides, Sandoval County Extension Program Director and Agriculture Agent, at a Water Coop Annual Meeting (2007?).

  1. Just because the weather man says it was a one inch rainfall, don’t think that you got one inch – runoff, local conditions, etc.
  2. Your rain gauge reads one inch = runoff
  3. Sandy soil absorbs water faster: true.
    Sandy soil also loses water at faster rate = soil pores.
  4. Mulching will hold more water – if applied by drip: Yes. If done by mother nature: No.
  5. One foot of snow equates to one inch of water.
  6. One inch of water on sandy soils will penetrate one foot of soil, eight inches in loam, and one inch in clay. Storing: sandy solids one inch; loam two inches; clay three inches.
  7. When you get moisture is most important: winter, spring, summer or fall.
  8. Best time to water. Most book experts say irrigate early in the morning. I prefer that irrigation is best if applied between 6:00 PM to 10:00 AM. Evening water pressure is more constant. Will not damage plants. Never [water] during heat of day except when planting a new lawn.
  9. Check sprinklers often and also drip emitters.
  10. New plantings requite constant moisture.
  11. Older plantings can get by with less water.
  12. Tree should be a priority as it takes so long to grow.
    Apply 10 gallons of water / inch of a tree’s diameter (measured at knee height). A 2 inch diameter tree needs 20 gallons of water. Trees absorb water best when water is allowed to soak deeply to a depth of 12 inches.
  13. During October to March, water one to two times per month if no rain or snow. It takes one full year per inch of trunk for tree to get established – 7 inch diameter new tree will take 7 years.