Princeton is home to hard, vertisol clay soil and limestone (white rock). These surfaces can be resistant to water intake sometimes and naturally crack during heat waves. There are ways to mitigate the impacts the heat has on your landscape, including the Cycle and Soak method.
The Cycle and Soak method reduces your water run-off from irrigation and increases the intake of water to the ground. There are a few things to keep in mind before incorporating this method:
Follow the standard procedures for irrigation. Including watering before/after high sun (Prior to 10 AM, after 6 PM) and being attentive to the patterns and speed of the wind to reduce the impacts of evaporation while you irrigate.
Get to know your irrigation controller and how to set the functions. Each irrigation controller is different. This method will utilize multiple programs for the same reoccurring zones. This method is not necessary for Drip Irrigation – but is effective for Spray and Rotor Irrigation systems.
Utilizing this method means setting shorter run times with breaks in between each program, on the same day. To utilize the Cycle and Soak method, set your irrigation to run for 2 – 3 minutes per zone, say at 4 AM, on Program A set to run once a week. Then set program B to run the same day, at 4:15 AM, for 2 – 3 minutes per zone. And repeat at 4:30 AM for program C if desired.