Tips & Info

Tips & Info

Tips & Procedures about Irrigation Systems by Turf Rain Toronto, Oakville, Milton

A Lush Landscape
The root system of your lawn is very shallow, usually only 2-4 inches deep. During even a short dry spell, your soil and lawn begin to dry out. When this occurs, your entire lawn begins to go dormant in order to conserve available moisture. Unfortunately, many common weeds thrive in dry conditions and begin to choke out the grasses you wish to preserve. Similarity, flowering plants and shrubs will prosper only when regular, periodic water is applied in carefully measured amounts. 

Irrigation System Maintenance
Proper maintenance of an irrigation system is required to insure efficient uniform irrigation. Ensuring that the sprinklers and emitters are working properly is a major part of irrigation system maintenance. The following items help keep sprinklers operating properly:

  • Keep heads properly aligned, leveled, and rotating.
  • Clean plugged sprinklers, emitters and filters when needed (figure 7).
  • Replace broken sprinklers, worn nozzles and emitters with appropriate parts to maintain matched application rates and uniformity.
  • Keep grass and plants away from sprinklers so spray patterns are not disturbed by them. Raise sunken heads.
  • After evaluation move, add or remove sprinklers and emitters to make a more uniform application of water.

Visual inspection of the landscape provides a good indicator of irrigation problems. Both stressed (hot spots) and over irrigated (soggy spots) areas indicate irrigation problems. If the irrigation system is operating improperly the following items should be checked.

Water supply – Check to see if all valves are opening and the system has proper pressure.

Water supply – Check to see if all valves are opening and the system has proper pressure.

Controller and controller programming — Check the controller to make sure it is operating and programmed properly.

Field wiring – Check to see if the automatic valves are receiving the proper voltage and current, check for shorts in the wiring.

Field wiring – Check to see if the automatic valves are receiving the proper voltage and current, check for shorts in the wiring.

Valves – Use the controller to manually operate the valves through a cycle to make sure they are operating properly. Adjust the flow control stems on the valves if needed.

Sprinkler heads – Check for plugged, blocked or broken heads. Make sure the sprinkler is rotating properly.

Sprinkler heads – Check for plugged, blocked or broken heads. Make sure the sprinkler is rotating properly.

Pipe and fittings – Check for broken or plugged pipes and leaks.

Maximize your watering efficiency and convenience with Drip Watering
Gardeners throughout the world are familiar with the water saving advantage of using drip irrigation. Saving water is not only earth-wise, but it saves you money too, by reducing your water bills. In addition to saving water, drip offers several other advantages including:

  • Minimizing erosion by operating under low pressure, allowing the water to soak in.
  • Minimizing weed growth by delivering water directly to your plant’s root zone.
  • Evenly watering all of your plants on the system.

Drip systems are used in patio/balcony pots, ground cover, vegetable gardens, and practically any other watering application. Once installed, drip systems are also an incredibly easy way to keep your plants watered correctly. And attaching the system to a timer can completely automate your watering. Here are some hints to keep in mind when you install your new system, or update your existing one.

  • Before cutting any tubing, measure your layout and even lay the tubing out in advance. Once you do this, allow a few extra inches of tubing in each area. The reason for this is that the tubing expands and contracts as the weather changes. If you cut the tubing too short, it may pull out of the area you intended to water.
  • To make the 1/2″ black poly tube easier to work with, stretch it out in the sun (along the driveway, for example) to heat it up a bit. Doing this will take the “bend” out of the tubing and will allow you to place it as needed in your garden.
  • If you are using anything but clean tap water, you should install a filter at the beginning of the system. A filter with a mesh rating of 100 to 200 will help keep particles out of the system which may clog the emitters as time passes. Cover the poly tubing with mulch or other cover to help beautify your garden design and to help discourage damage that may occur from your pet dog’s curious mouth.

Winterizing your irrigation system is really pretty simple
Each winter your irrigation system will need to be “winterized” to prevent the water lines from freezing and cracking. This involves blowing out the system with compressed air and turning the main valve off to prevent water from flowing back into the system and freezing. Your system will then be “turned off.”

  1. Turn off the water to the irrigation system at main valve.
  2. Set the automatic irrigation controller to the “rain” setting.
  3. Turn on each of the valves to release pressure in the pipes.
  4. Drain all of the water out of any irrigation components that might freeze.

Depending on where your irrigation system is located you need to take different approaches to winterization.