Making Smarter Landscaping Choices

Maintenance Tips For Lawn Sprinklers

Are you thinking about having sprinklers installed in your lawn? Are you trying to find out what sort of maintenance will be required, to better decide whether or not this is something you want? Although owning a sprinkler system is going to be easier on your back than hauling around a heavy garden hose, there are still a few things that need to be done. Check with your maintenance company for a precise list, but here are some of the most common things that need to be done:

Spring: Once the ground thaws, you can start testing the system for leaks. Slowly open the main valve that adds water to the system. If you have an automatic system, this is a good time to look for leaks between the control box and the pipes leading to the sprinklers themselves. If the ground is completely dry, turn on your sprinkler system, one zone at a time, and let them run for 15-30 minutes. Watch the sprinklers themselves for signs of malfunction. After several months of disuse, they may have become damaged or misaligned. Turn off the sprinklers and check the ground for patches that are extra soggy, which can indicate an underground leak. If a sprinkler head is clogged, clean it per manufacturer instructions.

Summer: Summer means that your sprinkler system will be getting a lot of use. If you have heavy water in your area, check at least once a month to make sure all sprinkler heads are still spraying in the proper direction and force. One or two clogged sprinkler heads can leave areas of your lawn dryer than they should be, leaving your grass prone to yellowing and dying from dehydration. If your control box uses batteries instead of drawing all of its power from the mains, change out the batteries at the start of summer whether or not they still seem to have a good charge.

Fall: Close the main valve leading to the sprinkler system and either drain the system or have it done for you. Depending on where you live, you may want to pull all of the sprinkler heads out of the ground and replace them with caps for the winter. This will help prevent your more expensive sprinkler heads from being damaged by staying in the ground all winter long. 

Winter: In winter, there's not much that you need to do about your sprinklers. If you live in an area with heavy snow, you'll simply have to wait until the spring. If it doesn't snow but it does freeze where you live, you might want to keep an eye on your system to make sure that the freezing and thawing ground isn't forcing your sprinklers out of the ground. For an older system that is buried deep and was professionally installed, this shouldn't be an issue. But if the previous homeowner decided to install the sprinkler system on his or her own, he or she may not have buried it as deep as it needs to be. Without grass to get in the way, you can better monitor this part of the sprinkler system for potential issues.

For more information or advice on sprinkler systems, contact companies like Wagner Sod, Landscaping and Irrigation Co., Inc.