The Castaic water board is continuing to offer classes that will allow customers to learn all about weather-based watering systems in exchange for a free smart irrigation controller. This triple benefit class will show you how to install smart irrigation controllers, save you money on your water bills and hand you an expensive water timer for free.
For people who have taken the course or have bought one of these labor and water saving devices, there is one thing to be aware of. If you live where temperatures fall below 37′ F, which will happen all through Santa Clarita during a normal winter, your irrigation system will automatically shut off. The SmartLine brand controller offered at the class has a ‘freeze’ stop at 37′. Other brands have similar shut-off points. You do not want to irrigate when water can turn to ice, crack pipes, split heads or drape your landscape with icicles. Water will not penetrate frozen ground either. On the other hand, in many areas of the inland chaparral the early morning hours are the coldest and may hover around freezing without danger of icing up.
During dry winter periods irrigation is still important. So check on your garden regularly. Early morning is the best time to water, but if your system has a red light, ‘freeze’ warning or other warning signal showing, chances are your garden may not be getting the water it needs. You can override your system, or you can simply set watering times for later in the morning when the danger of cold temperatures has passed.
Should you notice your landscape is too dry, don’t panic and conclude something is broken. Instead, check your smart array controller in the morning during the run time to see if it is simply being fooled into shutting off due to early morning frosty temperatures.