With winter’s shorter and cooler days, your sprinklers shouldn’t need to run until spring. Set your sprinkler timer to “off” and let Mother Nature do the watering. Or, if the weather is dry for several weeks, check soil moisture first and hand water, if needed. Winter is also a great time to rethink your landscape to figure out ways to cut down on your outdoor water use. If you want to add new plants, consider using regionally appropriate, lower-water ones. These will typically not require much irrigation beyond regular rainfall and are more resistant to pests and diseases. Add mulch around garden areas and shrubs to keep the soil moist, reduce evaporation, and inhibit weed growth. Mulching—which can include shredded bark, grass clippings, straw, or leaves—will also help moderate the soil temperature and prevent erosion. If you want to cut down on raking, leave some of the falling leaves on your yard to decompose and feed your lawn. For more watering and landscaping tips, visit www.folsom.ca.us/water.