The late spring rains have kept the hills in Contra Costa County green, and have also been a blessing for home and business owners.
But the storms are finally tapering off and the long spring days mean it's time to look at restarting your automatic irrigation systems.
Before you do anything, check to make sure your system is working as it should and there no leaks, broken or plugged emitters. Also, make sure the emitters are all pointing in the right direction. Run them all briefly to make sure all is working correctly.
The next thing to do is to look at your soil and determine if it really needs water. Unless you know your yard very well, there is no easy to tell. The obvious is to look for muddy or wet spots on your lawn. If you have wet spots, you probably don't need to resume watering just yet.
One method many people have used for years is called the "screwdriver test" where you plunge a large screwdriver into your lawn. Depending on how much resistance you have, you'll know if you need to start watering again. If the screwdriver slides in pretty easily, you don't need to water. But if it's difficult, you should look into watering.
Of course, different types of plants and soil -- and how much sun your yard gets - will change the results of the test, so you'll have to use a lot of discretion. Even though it's not precise, this easy test will give you a clue as to how badly your yard needs water.
CCWD Water Conservation Specialist Bob Eagle said the water for irrigating the small lawns on the District's own Demonstration Garden was turned on for the first time this year last week, and this week the water will be turned on for the trees and some of the shrubs. He said he doesn't expect to need to turn on the sprinklers in some areas of the nearly one-acre garden until late June or even July.
In most cases, he said, it should be time to start irrigating most yards, especially those facing south.
When you do water, please follow our newly-updated guide. If you're one of those people who wants even more detail than we provide in our guide, look here and our "Gardening in Contra Costa County" site
In addition, sign up for our new e-mail watering reminder. Every month we'll remind you that its time to adjust your automatic sprinklers.
Cash For Appliances Still Going Strong
The state's "Cash for Appliances" program is generating a lot of interest in buying new washing machines....and there is still money available.
If you pick a high-efficiency washer that is on the state's approved list and CCWD's approved list, you can get both the CCWD Clothes Washer Rebate and the state rebate.
The new washer will help you save a lot of water.
Your salesperson can help you apply for both rebates, but you can check which machines qualify for the CCWD program here.
Here's the state's list.