Landscape Watering Reminder - December

Sub-tropical moisture brought us up to ¾ of an inch of rain today breaking our 43-day dry spell. Use the 'off', 'stop', or 'rain' setting on your controller to stop the watering cycle without disturbing your programs.

Because December is cool and day length is short, plant water usage is at its lowest point, so it may be awhile before you will need to turn the irrigation back on. See how much rain was measured across the Valley on the Maricopa County Flood Control Rainfall Map.



Recommendations are for plants that are established in the landscape (in the ground about 2 years).

Note: These recommendations are a general guideline only and may need to be modified for your specific site conditions.

frosted ficus tree

A new color for the crayon box, Ficus Brown occurs when temperatures dip too low. Learn about frost protection below.

Photo by Donna DiFrancesco.

Lawn watering:
Summer grass (Bermuda) - once every 30 days
Overseeded cool season grass (rye) - once every 10 -14 days
If trees and shrubs are on the same valve:
Desert Adapted - once every 35 days
High Water Use - once every 18 days
Tree watering:
Desert Adapted -once every 45 days
High Water Use - once every 21 days
Shrub watering:
Desert Adapted - once every 30 days
High Water Use - once every 14 days
Groundcover and vine watering:
Desert Adapted - once every 28 days
High Water Use - once every 14 days
Cacti and succulent watering - if needed
Annual & vegetable watering - once every 7-10 days

Wildflower watering - once every 10 -15 days

Reduce your landscape watering 30 to 50 percent by adjusting your irrigation each season. Landscape Watering by the Numbers: A Guide for the Arizona Desert will help you determine how much water to apply and how long to run your system. Visit the interactive Web version or request a free copy of the booklet at
Bonus tips

  • Weeds may compete with landscape plants for water, so this is a great time to hand pull them. It's a lot easier to pull out the entire weed, roots and all, when the soil is moist.

  • Our typical first frost is around Dec. 12, though temps have been running above normal. If you want to be prepared for a cold snap, learn how to protect your plants from frost in a University of Arizona publication. For frost warning advisories, visit the National Weather Service Phoenix Web site and click on "Read watches, warnings and advisories."

  • Looking for water saving gift ideas? How about a Water Sense labeled weather-based irrigation controller, showerhead, toilet or faucet? If you are looking at washing machines or dishwashers, find water efficiency (and energy) ratings at the Consortium for Energy Efficiency site. Find a gift that keeps on giving (water, energy and dollar savings month after month). Find great info in our December Sustainability Savings Tip.

  • To register for monthly watering reminder emails, visit and click on Email Alerts located in the right navigation bar. Choose Landscape Watering Reminder, and follow the registration instructions. You can remove your name from the list at any time.

    For more information about Mesa's water conservation programs, visit