While the irrigation season continues officially through mid-October, the Oregon State Extension Service recommends ending lawn irrigation after Labor Day to help minimize populations of European Crane Fly. Crane fly larvae live in moist soil, and they can damage lawns and even create dead spots. Gardeners may also wish to end irrigation of some garden produce, like tomatoes, to encourage ripening.
With cooler weather and precipitation on the way, it's a good time to end all supplemental irrigation and prepare your irrigation system for the winter. If you irrigate with a hose, drain the hose to prevent freeze damage. If you use an in-ground irrigation system, draining your supply lines is also a good idea. When you turn off your irrigation timer, be sure to also turn off the water supply. Some irrigation controllers have a back-up mode schedule that activates after a power outage. Having your irrigation system run during the winter may lead to higher than expected water bills. Note, also, that winter wastewater rates will start appearing on your December City Services bill. This will multiply your bill if you have unplanned irrigation events.
Autumn is also a great time to plan to improve the water efficiency of your landscape. Explore Water Efficient Plants for the Willamette Valley
for ideas. Plant native trees and shrubs between December and February for best survival. You can pick up a copy of this full-color publication at Corvallis Public Works. Download the guide, or individual chapters, at www.corvallisoregon.gov/plantguide
For more information on water conservation strategies, see www.corvallisoregon.gov/conserve
, or contact Mark Taratoot at 541-766-6916 or email@example.com