As the weather turns warm and dry, now is a critical time to water efficiently. Outdoor water use accounts for about 55 percent of the residential water use in the Front Range urban area, most of which is used on turf, according to the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension.
If you just planted a tree, shrub or perennial, plants will initially take more water to become established, especially in the heat of summer. After they have become established, make sure to adjust their irrigation cycle. A thick layer of mulch, in the form of wood chips, gravel or black plastic, will reduce the amount of water that is lost to evaporation. Make sure to water before or after the hottest parts of the day. Also, keep an eye on rainfall and adjust irrigation cycles accordingly.
The City of Fort Collins offers a free sprinkler audit to city utility customers through August, first come, first served.
Also check out more information offered by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District.
Originally published on June 7th, 2012. Updated on September 3rd, 2019.