It’s time to check out the sprinklers |

It’s time to check out the sprinklers

Becky Garber
Special to the Daily

Most of us run our sprinkler systems overnight, so we never really see whether the system is operating properly or not. Whether the temps are at 90 at lower elevations or 70’s as they are currently here, dry spots in your lawns are bound to appear if there are sprinkler problems. It is generally better to water less often, more deeply to send roots deeper to find water in time of need.

If a sprinkler is watering the street instead of the lawn, there will soon be a brown spot in the grass to show where the water is missing its mark. Ditto for other problems like a sprinkler that’s missing altogether or one that is clogged. These problems are quick and simple fixes – but if they are not addressed, the grass is sure to suffer.

This weekend, turn on your sprinkler system, watch each area as it waters and look for problems. Simple adjustments and repairs are basic, required maintenance just like you do for your car.

Since most of the sprinkler system is underground, some problems take a closer look. Here are a couple signs of underground problems:

• Mushy areas in the lawn. A very soggy area may be due to a break in the sprinkler pipe. Go to the timer and stop watering that section of the sprinkler system until you can rule out a break or repair the broken pipe.

• Very dry grass and/or part of the sprinkler system won’t run. This can indicate an underground electrical or valve problem. Some diagnostic work will be required and you will probably need to call a pro.

Drag out the hose and sprinkler and manually water these problem areas until the system is repaired.

Don’t forget about the timer-the device that tells your sprinklers when to turn on. If this device doesn’t work properly, your sprinkler system won’t either.

• Plug it in. Make sure the timer is plugged in after being shut down for the winter.

• Replace the batteries. They are the back-up if the power goes off. You don’t want to lose all the scheduling you’ve done, so keep fresh batteries in the timer.

• Set the timer to run sprinklers based on the kinds of sprinkler heads in each area of your yard. Rotor heads – spray long distances and shoot water back and forth across the lawn – should run no more than about 20 minutes per cycle. Pop-up heads that spray continually over one area should never run more than eight to10 minutes per cycle. Longer run times will cause water to run off the lawn and that’s literally money down the drain.

If you need help troubleshooting your system and fixing any problems, your local landscape provider can assist.

Becky Garber is member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company base in Silverthorne is a member. You may contact them at (970) 468-0340.

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