Watering Guidelines

These watering guidelines are designed for landscapes in Tucson, AZ but should also work well for low desert regions of Southern Arizona. Plants need less water during cool or rainy weather. Additional water is needed for new plants or during unusually hot or dry weather. Water to the outer edge of the plant’s canopy and to the depth indicated.

Landscape Watering Guidelines

Plant Type Native & high water use plants in Tucson, AZ Seasonal Frequency shows days between watering Depth how deeply
Spring Summer Fall Winter
Trees Native/desert adapted trees 14-30 days 7-21 days 14-30 days 30-60 days 24-36 inches
High water use trees 7-12 days 7-10 days 7-12 days 14-30 days 24-36 inches
Shrubs Native/desert adapted shrubs 14-30 days 7-21 days 14-30 days 30-45 days 18-24 inches
High water use shrubs 7-10 days 2-7 days 7-10 days 10-14 days 18-24 inches
Ground Covers Native/desert adapted plants 14-30 days 7-21 days 14-30 days 21-45 days 8-12 inches
High water use ground covers 7-10 days 2-5 days 7-10 days 10-14 days 8-12 inches
Cacti and Succulents 21-45 days 14-30 days 21-45 days only if needed 8-12 inches
Annuals 1-2­­­­­­­ days daily water 1-2 days 2-3 days 8-12 inches
Warm Season Grass 1-2 days daily water 1-2 days 15-30 days 6-10 inches
Cool Season Grass 2-7 days none 2-7 days 3-10 days 6-10 inches

These guidelines are for established plants in Tucson, AZ. Additional water is required for new plants and during unusually dry conditions.

The term “established” refers to the point at which a newly planted tree, shrub, accent, or ground cover begins to produce new growth. New growth appears as fresh foliage or new stems. Typically, a shrub will become well established after one year with a fully developed root system. Trees require up to three years to become fully established. New plantings need to be watered more frequently than established plants. The schedule below offers general watering guidelines to help new plants get established.

Watering Schedule for New Plants in Tucson, AZ
Weeks 1 – 2 Water new plants every 1-2 days in the summer and every 3-4 days fall – spring
Weeks 3 – 4 Water new plants every 3-4 days in the summer and every 6-7 days fall – spring
Weeks 5 – 6 Water new plants every 4-6 days in the summer and every 7-10 days fall – spring
Weeks 7 – 8 Water new plants every 7 days during the summer and every 10-14 days fall – spring
After 8 Weeks Gradually extend the time between irrigations until plants begin to produce new growth

Over half of household water goes into our landscapes in Tucson, AZ. Watering your plants efficiently is one of the best ways to save water. Proper watering will not only keep your landscape plants healthy but will also reduce your monthly water bill.

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