The lawn requires enough water to penetrate the depth of the roots. This should be at least six inches. However, there are several things to consider before watering: weather, the type of soil, wind and sun exposure. As the temperatures rise you'll need to water more often. An average of 1” per week is recommended in the summer and it can be spread evenly every other day. Depending on the soil conditions it will determine how much water is required. Soil that has a lot of clay will retain the most water and may even cause puddles under the grass. Soils with a lot of sand will not hold as much water therefore; more frequent watering is required. Lawns with a good amount of loam will be the most balanced. The soil will retain the water and slowly release it to the roots. Wind and sun exposure can also determine the amount of water considered. Too much wind or sun can accelerate evaporation and those shady areas may delay evaporation.
If the soil becomes too dry the lawn will not be able to satisfy its own requirements. This will cause the lawn to become weak and susceptible to changes in color, insect damage and disease.
Many lawns are damaged from excessive watering. This causes nutrients to become diluted and washed away. As a result, the lawn will require additional applications of fertilizer. Over watering also allows the lawn to become weak. This leads to shallow roots causing it to become disease prone and weed infested.
Early mornings (before sunrise) when water pressure is greatest, evaporation is minimal and the lawn can absorb the greatest amount of water. Avoid watering after sunset because water that does not evaporate may cause disease. Do not water during the hottest point of the day because the sun will evaporate the water before it can soak the lawn. To water your lawn efficiently, it requires the right amount of water, evenly distributed, at the right time.
The system should be serviced twice per year. In the springtime all the sprinkler heads should checked for proper adjustments and to remove any grass or soil from around the heads. The automatic program should be updated for the spring season.
In the fall, the system will need to be winterized. This is done by attaching an air compressor to a special fitting, installed at the installation, to flush the lines of standing water that will have room to freeze and expand the pipes.
Available in an outdoor or indoor model, these prevent water from re-entering the main water supply via the sprinkler system (and therefore any fertilizer or chemical contaminants the lawn). In most states these are required by law to be installed. Consult with your sales person to determine which device is best for you.
Installed in a valve box below the ground and closest to the main water source, valves are the zones that distribute the water to the sprinklers.
There is a variety of types to meet almost any application. Your system will be designed allowing the most efficient and low maintenance heads possible. They will be designed to apply precise watering evenly throughout the lawn.
The controller, or timer, is the brain of your system, allowing it to operate according to a program customized for your landscape needs.
A Rain Switch acts as a gauge turning off your system automatically when a pre-determined setting has been selected. The gauge collects water telling it when to turn off. The rain gauge should be set in an open area to collect rainfall and allow exposure to the sun so it can dry when not raining.