Time to Check the Irrigation System

I think we can all agree it has been a long winter. But within a couple of weeks the weather will have warmed up and your lawn and landscaping will begin to green up and demand some moisture. Now is the best time to have your irrigation system checked for cold weather damage and get routine maintenance performed that will fit the needs of this year’s landscape.

The best ones for the job are those who maintain your lawn and landscape all year long. Your lawn maintenance service sees your property on a regular basis and will be the first to recognize changing watering needs and to identify problem areas.

What to Check

Repeated freezes this past winter coupled with watering restrictions can damage irrigation systems through freezing water expansion in the pipes and ground movement. Lack of regular use may have disguised electronic problems. A thorough check of the entire system is in order.

Your lawn maintenance service should check:

  • Valves
  • Spray heads
  • Riser heights
  • Irrigation style

Valves and Spray Heads

Valves and spray heads are the most common causes of water leaks in the system and can lead to wastage. Broken valves and blown heads allow large amounts water to fountain upwards instead of spray the landscape. A broken valve or cracked pipe can allow water to seep through the ground around the head or a joint. If you notice a swampy or muddy area in an otherwise dry lawn, bring it to the attention of your landscape professional.

Risers

Riser heights should be adjusted according to shrub and tree growth from the previous season. Unless the shrubs will be trimmed down the riser must be reset in order to reach the same amount of area. Keep the risers in mind when selecting landscape plantings as well. You don’t want the height of the plants to keep water from reaching the ground cover or grass nearby.

Watering Restrictions and Irrigation Styles

It’s probably a good bet that watering restrictions are here to stay. You live in an area with few natural lakes and rivers. Years of drought have brought natural and manmade reservoirs to their lowest levels in decades. Even with enough rain, a growing population may still need more water than North Texas has available.

Ask for recommendations for helping your irrigation system save resources. Drip irrigation is a better choice for vegetable gardens, perennial beds, shrubs, and trees. This method is 90% more efficient than a broadcast sprinkler system. It mitigates run-off and water loss through evaporation. The water is applied at the root zone where it is needed.

Broadcast spray heads should be checked for alignment and circumference of spray. Some municipalities charge penalties for “watering the pavement.” You want to water the plants and lawn, not your sidewalk or fence. Spray heads are available that can be adjusted from 360 degrees down to 40 degrees in arc. You should also be sure the water is being thrown far enough to compensate for the distance between heads.

Scheduling

Your lawn and landscape service will have the best information on watering times for your various plants and shrubs. Work with them to set the appropriate length of watering times and to communicate any watering restrictions. You should be able to obtain a watering schedule from your city’s utility service. You can also check with the local agricultural office for appropriate water needs for your garden.

Proper irrigation system maintenance can save you money and water.  Your lawn and landscape professionals have the experience to understand your specific needs through regular visits throughout the year. A knowledgeable service provider will be aware of both your needs and the regulations in your neighborhood.

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