Sprinkler systems are fantastic. They let you have a lush, green lawn without all the work of watering with a hose or constantly moving sprinklers around. Probably the biggest advantage would be just not having to remember to water the lawn every few days.
But as great as they are, sprinklers are a mechanical system that does require some maintenance and attention. To make sure your sprinkler system operates properly this season, the irrigation team at Heritage Lawns & Irrigation has created this list of sprinkler do’s and dont’s for our homeowners. Follow these tips and you should be enjoying a nice, relaxing summer on a beautiful lawn.
Related Read: How to Declare War on Weeds: A Tactical Defense Plan
Do These Things with Your Sprinkler System:
- Water in the morning. Night watering can cause fungus to grow in your lawn.
- Install a rain shutoff device on your sprinkler system to avoid wasting water by watering when it isn’t necessary.
- Know how much water your sprinkler system delivers. An easy way to find out is to place empty tuna cans in your sprinkler heads’ path. Work per zone.
- Run the sprinkler for a set amount of time, say 30 minutes.
- When finished, pour all of the water into a single container and measure the depth with a ruler.
- Divide that number by the number of cans to get the average amount of water applied in that particular zone in a 30 minute time span.
- Different types of sprinkler heads deliver differing amounts of water, so each zone will vary slightly. One to one and a half inches per week (including Mother Nature’s additions) is sufficient to keep your lawn hydrated.
- Inspect your system by watching it run each month. This will allow you to confirm heads are all still aligned correctly, heads are not broken or leaking excessive water, all zones are still coming on, and there are no major wet spots in the lawn indicating underground leaks.
TIP: Buy a few extra heads and parts for your sprinkler system. A few parts on hand will make repairs a snap.
- If you notice a problem and need to dig, make sure you call and have the utilities marked to avoid damaging underground lines. It usually only takes 24-48 hours for your city to mark your underground utility lines.
- Blow out your sprinkler system before winter. Air pressure will clear the underground pipes of water that will freeze and cause damage if left there.
Related Read: The 10-Step Mid-Spring Lawn Care Checklist
Don’t Do These Things with Your Sprinkler System:
- Don’t waste water (and money) by watering the concrete areas like sidewalks or driveways. Make sure your sprinkler heads cover only the lawn and landscaped areas. Useless watering can waste up to 500 gallons of water a month on average systems.
- Don’t use your sprinkler system when it’s raining. If you don’t have rain sensors installed, turn off your sprinkler when there’s rain in the forecast.
- Don’t overwater your lawn. Overwatering allows your sprinkler system to waste water by creating runoff that leaks onto streets or into drains. Most KC lawns only require 1 – 1 ½ inches of water a week to remain green during the heat of summer.
- Don’t water between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. It is best to water between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.
- There’s usually less wind, less sun, and your lawn has all day to dry.
- Watering at night can encourage mildew and fungus but if you can’t water in the morning, the next best time is 4-7 p.m.
- In the hot afternoon, much of your water can be lost to wind and evaporation.
- Don’t water your lawn too often. Longer, deeper waterings encourage deeper root growth and will prevent browning and burning during the hottest weeks of summer.