Spring is around the corner and although the recent rain prevents the need for watering just yet, there are a number of ways to start preparing your irrigation system for the warmer months ahead. Regular maintenance is one most effective ways to reduce wasted water, pollution from run-off, and over-irrigation, as well as improve plant health by directing water where it can be best utilized by the landscape.
THE BASICS OF IRRIGATION MAINTENANCE ARE:
1. Inspect the irrigation controller and make sure it’s plugged in and functioning
2. Update the time and date
3. Check the connection on all of the wires – make sure rain, wind, or soil moisture sensors are connected
4. Replace the back-up battery
5. Change the schedule to reflect the current season and irrigation needs of the landscape
6. Turn on each zone and look for system damage
EXAMPLES OF SYSTEM DAMAGE AND PROBLEMS:
Leaking valves or pipes
Leaks can occur as a result of weather conditions, damage from shovels and other sharp tools, vandalism, tree roots, and normal aging of the system. Leaks from valves and pipes may be large and very obvious. Smaller leaks may not show up immediately and will require some detective work.
Broken or missing sprinkler heads
Damage can occur to sprinkler heads from lawn mowers, vandalism, improperly installed heads, and normal wear and tear.
Clogged nozzles occur as a result of debris entering the irrigation system, a dirty water source, and normal wear and tear. To fix clogged nozzles try flushing your irrigation system at the beginning of the irrigation system, install screens on sprinkler heads, or simply replace the clogged nozzles, and improve system filtration.
Over time, dirt and debris can wear out the wiper seal resulting in leaks around the top of the spray head. If the spray head consists of a single unit then the entire head must be replaced. For some spray heads it is possible to screw off the top of the sprinkler head and replace that part only.
It is not uncommon for sprinkler heads to settle over time. Even when the soil is packed around the sprinkler, the weight of lawn mowers and other heavy equipment on wet turf can cause the heads to settle. Grass clippings, soil, and other debris can build up around heads resulting in a sprinkler head that doesn’t clear the grass adequately and disrupts the spray pattern. Heads can be raised by using taller sprinkler bodies or installing risers. Cutting turf away from heads is another solution.
For more information on water efficiency, visit the City of Turlock’s website at www.CityofTurlock.org. Brought to you by the City of Turlock Municipal Services Department.
WATER CONSERVATION TIP #130
Watering schedule: Effective March 1 through Oct. 31, even numbered homes may water on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and odd numbered homes may water Wednesdays and Sundays. Allowed watering times are before 9 a.m. and after 7 p.m.