Irrigation System Audit: When was the last time you scheduled one?
November 15, 2016 | By Roundtree Landscaping
Automatic irrigation systems are so convenient, we often neglect them. It's a wonderful tool that takes the effort out of watering, but it is not something you can just set and forget. The system needs a human supervisor throughout the year to make sure it's working efficiently. You will save a great deal of time, hassle and money by taking the time to have it inspected by a certified irrigation specialist at least once a year.
How do broken sprinkler heads affect plants?
All plants must have a thorough, deep watering to allow roots to grow deep into the soil and develop strong growth habits. All it takes to kill a large section of lawn or an important and expensive shrub or tree is one sprayer head getting damaged by a mower. This easy-to-fix problem can also affect the health of your valuable trees. A newly planted or even an established tree can suffer when it doesn't receive water on one side of its root system or goes months without receiving enough water at all. Remember, lawn and garden plants that are weakened because of poor irrigation are more susceptible to insects and disease.
It's also important to check for cracked sprinkler heads, broken hoses or poor water pressure from broken parts that might be causing wasteful runoff, watering the sidewalk, flooding the landscape, or not putting out enough water. Also, are you adjusting the timing of your watering to ensure that your lawn and plants receive the equivalent of 1-inch of rainfall per week? To find out how much water your plants are actually getting each time your system runs, try placing some shallow containers, about an inch or two in height (a tuna can is a great tool!), around your landscape while the system is running. How long does it take to fill with an inch of water?
Adjust for rain
During times of rain, you’ll want to adjust your irrigation system to run less often, or simply turn it off and only run it manually. This is also the time to watch be sure the rain gauge in your system is working. If your sprinkler is going off while it rains, then your sensor is either broken or the system is set wrong. If the weather gave us a great day of soaking rain, there is no need to water. Think of your watering as a supplement to rain and not a schedule for your landscape.
It’s now time to audit your irrigation. What does this mean?
- When our certified irrigation pro checks your system, the look for:
- Leaks in both sprinkler heads and water lines.
- Proper water pressure and distribution.
- A correctly programmed system that waters at the right time of day and putting forth the right amount of water per zone.
- Since no zone requires the same amount of water as another, a specialist will check each zone individually.
Once complete with their report, our certified irrigation pro will give you a report outlining what needs to be repaired and what needs to be reset. We can even make the repairs and set your system correctly so you don’t lose plants, flood the landscape or water at the wrong time because of a faulty system. We will also recommend and help set up an additional drip system for containers or specific established trees and shrubs so they receive their own supply of water.
Check your irrigation system in fall and winter, the time you’ll be needing it the least in preparation for next summer when you’ll need it up and running the most.