Utah Ends its Watering Season with a Hurricane

By Megan Hatch Conservation Garden Park

By the last day of September many of Utah’s weather stations had logged no precipitation for the entire month. It was Salt Lake City’s driest September since 1951, only adding to an already dismally-dry summer and shockingly snowless winter. But then the hurricane hit. Rains from Rosa put large portions of Utah on flash flood watch—even the National Guard was activated to assist flood mitigation efforts in Utah County. For the first time in what felt like a long time, Utah got rain—and lots of it. We sandbagged and prepared, but there is something that some of us forgot: You don’t have to water your yard after a hurricane.

It isn’t often that landlocked Utah is affected by hurricanes—but after tearing through Arizona and entering the Salt Lake Valley, Rosa gave our landscapes quite the soak. Now unless there is a sudden, extended burst of warm temperatures, Utahns shouldn’t need to water their lawns for the rest of the season. Turn off your sprinklers—Utah just got watered by a hurricane!

Since you no longer need to water this season, now is a great time to get your irrigation system ready for winter. Here are a few tips from the experts at Conservation Garden Park to help you make sure your landscape is ready to survive the winter and thrive in the spring:

  1. Mow low: Normally Conservation Garden Park staff advocates mowing the lawn at the highest setting to help shade the soil, prevent evaporation, and promote root growth. But for the last mow of the season, you should do the opposite. Mowing on the 1” setting and bagging your clippings will help protect your lawn from snow mold and leave it ready to grow in the spring.
  2. Fertilize: The most important fertilization is the fall application. Be sure to use fertilizer formulated for fall since you want to feed plant roots and eradicate perennial weeds rather than encourage growth.


  1. Winterize: Your sprinklers should now be off for the season but you can wait a little longer to winterize your system if you wish, just don’t forget to make sure the sprinkler system is drained completely before the first freeze. There are many videos online that can show you how to winterize sprinkler systems. Make sure to detach and drain outdoor hoses. If you leave the hose attached to the spigot, freezing water could damage the spigot and cause leaks. Our article next week will provide additional details about winterizing your sprinkler system.

To learn more about preparing your landscape for cooler weather, visit Conservation Garden Park year-round (8275 South 1300 West, West Jordan, Utah 84088). You can also have your Utah landscaping questions answered by experts on the Garden’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/conservationgardenpark.