En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - September 04, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Watering
Title: Recommended irrigation schedule for Austin, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton


With the very hot summer and the conservation of water so important, could you let me know what would be a good watering schedule? I am fortunate enough to have a sprinkler system so I can set my pop-up sprinkler heads to water different durations and such. What is a good weekly/daily watering schedule that I could use. Thank you


To be most effective you should water infrequently, but thoroughly. This encourages deeper roots systems that can better withstand drought conditions.

Following the City of Austin Recommended Irrigation Schedule is a very good plan. For the summer, June through September, they recommend a 5-day watering schedule with designated days for each street number. Watering should be done only before 10:00 AM or after 7:00 PM. To help you determine how long you should water on your designated day, Austin Water Conservation posts an ET (evapo-transpiration) Index on its home page.

"ET, or evapo-transpiration, is the measurement of moisture that your plants and lawn lose through heat, humidity and wind. This amount is what should be replaced when watering your landscape."

You can determine the amount of time to water on your designated day by measuring the output of your sprinklers and using the posted ET.


More Watering Questions

Poor drainage in wildflower bed
November 10, 2004 - I have a flower bed that has given me difficulty because it has poor drainage but typically receives sun for most of the day. Salvia gregii was the only survivors for the initial landscaping attempt. ...
view the full question and answer

Self-watering planters
August 12, 2008 - I'm a big proponent of the EarthBox (tm) phenomenon - that is, so-called "self-watering" or sub-irrigation planters where a separate but connected reservoir underneath the soil in the planter is fi...
view the full question and answer

Leaves dropping from a potted Mesquite
August 11, 2014 - I have a Prosopis pubescens (Screwbean Mesquite) that I purchased at a nursery in Alpine, TX just a few miles away from me. It was a in nursery style black plastic container. The mesquite is perhaps a...
view the full question and answer

Ilex vomitoria Sufering from Drought?
January 19, 2012 - My Ilex vomitoria has always thrived. It is about ten years old. This fall, a portion of the leaves on the ends of the branches have turned yellow on the edges with green veining in the center. Othe...
view the full question and answer

Difference between soil moisture and water use from Austin
February 20, 2012 - In the native plant data base "growing conditions" can you explain the difference between water use and soil moisture?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center