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Four tips for fall water savings

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A narrow, tall pale green water tower stands in a residential setting, with multiple houses and yards surrounding it. Several trees nearby have leaves changing into red and orange fall colors.
As the seasons change, so do the water needs of your landscape. Here are a few tips to keep your landscape resilient and water efficient this season.
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Tip one: Don’t leave your irrigation on autopilot—get it ready for fall and winter!

Plants, lawns, and gardens generally don’t need supplemental water in the fall. Whether you have an in-ground, drip, or hand-watering system, drain and shut off irrigation equipment after the rainy season starts. This also helps prepare for winter and freezing conditions.

Tip two: Add organic mulch to nurture your soil

Close up of a hand holding a shovel scooping mulch out of a black bin.
Add mulch around your plants to limit erosion and keep soil temperatures steady.

Adding mulch in the fall protects your beds from winter erosion and helps keep soil temperatures steady. To be most effective, apply one to two inches of compost, leaves, or sawdust or two to four inches of coarsely shredded bark or wood chips. Keep mulch several inches away from the trunks of trees and shrubs to prevent root rot.

Tip three: Rethink your landscape with waterwise plants

Now is a great time to plant water efficient perennials, shrubs, and trees for next year’s enjoyment. Our long rainy season helps establish strong plant roots without supplemental water. For best results, group together plants that require similar soil, sunlight, and watering needs. Creating “watering zones” in your landscape will allow you to give each plant the water it needs—not too much or too little.

Waterwise plants

Tip four: Apply for a rebate for your irrigation controller or sprinkler head upgrades

If you installed a new irrigation controller or sprinkler heads this year, check to see if your hardware qualifies for a rebate. And if you’re planning for irrigation upgrades next spring, you can learn more about our irrigation rebates here. Any active City of Portland drinking water account is eligible, and rebate applications must be received within one year of the hardware purchase date.

Apply for a rebate