City prohibits overseeding lawns during water restricted winter months

Despite first rain of the season, city reminds residents not to plant new grass between December and February

The Sun-Gazette

VISALIA – Visalia may have received its first drops of rain for the season, but that doesn’t mean you should start dropping seeds to bolster your lawn. In fact, it’s now illegal under a revision of the city’s water conservation code.

As of Nov. 4, the city of Visalia no longer prohibits overseeding lawns in Stage 1 of its watering regulations. The City Council voted to revise the ordinance at its Oct. 7 meeting to prohibit overseeding of lawns, the practice of planting grass seeds into an existing lawn to fill in bare spots or to provide an improved variety of grass without taking out existing turf. Overseeding requires a watering schedule more frequent than the one day per week allowed between December and February. Seeds must be constantly moist in order to germinate and develop a root system capable of providing the new grass with sufficient water.

Stage 1 of the Water Conservation Ordinance allows Visalia addresses to turn irrigation systems on three days per week during the months of March through November and one day per week watering during the months of December through February. Even addresses can water on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and odd addresses water on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Watering for each assigned day must take place before 8 a.m. and after 6 p.m. Watering within 48 hours after measureable rainfall (1/4”) is still prohibited.

Highlights of Stage 1 of the Water Conservation Ordinance include: No overseeding of any kind is permitted; new Plant Establishment permits are available for new plantings; all runoff is prohibited; fines remain the same at $125, $250, and $625; a warning is generally given before the first citation; and the first citation fee may be waived by attending a water conservation class offered by the City. 

While much of the state of California received adequate rainfall last year, the Central Valley is still in a severe state of overdraft. With growing needs and state mandates to meet, agencies and organizations across our state continue to work together on preservation efforts.  

“The City of Visalia receives one hundred percent of our water from groundwater,” Visalia conservation technician Nathan Garza said. “Protecting and conserving our limited water resources is imperative if we hope to prevent water from becoming scarce and ultimately, our sources depleted.” 

For more information and water saving tips, visit

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