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Lets talk about irrigation

          With the weather warming, it is time to start looking ahead and preparing your garden. One of the main components is irrigation. A properly working irrigation system is key to a healthy and growing garden. Below we will share a few tips on how to start up your irrigation for the season.


1. Ensure we are Past Freezing Temperatures

Before you even start to worry about starting up your lawn sprinkler system, it is important to make sure that there are no freezing temperatures in the future forecast. Typically, close to mother’s day is when we are out of frost. Depending on the weather though, you might need to start your system up earlier.  


It is likely that regular watering won’t be required before mid-May. If you start up the system too early, then you may need to clear grassroots from the sprinkler heads a second time and conduct an additional inspection.


2. Grab the Proper Tools and Supplies

Prior to energizing your system with water and inspecting the components, you will need to set up the backflow device. Here is a list of some of the tools and supplies you may need:


Pen and paper to take notes

A flat-head screwdriver and standard-size channel locks 

A small hand shovel to clear grass from the tops of sprinkler heads

Teflon tape for any plugs or caps that need to be in place prior to energizing the system with water

The proper tool required to adjust rotor heads and mister heads

Batteries for battery-operated controllers or for use as memory backup for older controllers

3. Inspect and Program Your Controller

Make sure the controller has power, (or fresh batteries if it’s a battery-operated device), confirm the proper date and time, and set your desired start time, station/zone run times, and the days you would like to water. You will likely need to make adjustments to the run times and days to water as weather changes throughout the season. Unfortunately, proper watering is not just a set-it-and-forget-it operation.

4. Test Your Irrigation System

Now it’s time to inspect each zone and all sprinkler heads for proper operation and adjustments. Sometimes it helps to have someone at the controller ready to skip to the next zone after you have completed your inspection.


Start at zone 1—turn on the zone using the manual operation at your controller (or run a test cycle if available), and watch for the heads to begin to purge air and eventually pop up and spray. Some heads may be trapped under new growth. When a soggy spot or puddle begins to form, feel the ground with the palm of your head for a small vibration. This will be a sprinkler head trapped under the turf. Use your small hand shovel or flathead screwdriver to clear the grass until the head pops up.


You should also be checking for any low pressure (low pressure may mean there’s a possible leak or kinked pipe), proper rotation of rotary heads, proper spray patterns of mister heads, and that the zone turns on and off properly when operating it from the controller.


Repeat this process for each and every zone on your system. Be sure to set zone run times accordingly as you progress with the inspection.


Call the Professionals

If at any point you are having trouble with your irrigation system, are noticing leaks, need help addressing issues, or simply don’t have the time the upkeep requires, it may be worth giving the professionals a call for your sprinkler repair and startup.


Kurt’s Garden is here to help. Our company does everything from helping you turn on your sprinkler system in the spring and winterize it in the fall, to regular maintenance, installation, and replacement.

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