Summer Prep: Getting Your Irrigation System Ready for the New Season

Spring in Minnesota, which officially falls in mid-March, tends to be short and may even come in late. When summer does come, the heat can hit hard, depending on your location. The summer highs in the north of the state could hover in the high 70s. If you’re in the south, temperatures may reach the mid-80s.

When warmer weather approaches, it’s a good idea to begin watering your garden beds and lawn more frequently. As spring turns to summer, the amount of rainfall drops, and plants will need supplemental watering to survive. If you want your plants to stay healthy, you’ll need to prepare your irrigation system for the warm season. A well-maintained system keeps your landscape well-watered.

Here are a few steps you can do to make sure your sprinklers are in optimal condition:

Check for Any Obstructions on the Sprinkler Heads

Debris, such as dirt and tiny rocks, can sometimes block the sprinkler heads. This debris could accumulate and prevent your sprinklers from functioning correctly. Before turning on your irrigation system, walk around your lawn and inspect each sprinkler to find out if anything is blocking the water flow.

Keep an Eye out for Broken Sprinkler Heads

On top of checking for any debris blocking your sprinklers, perform a closer inspection of each sprinkler head for any problems. These components can sometimes sustain damage from weed whackers, lawn mowers, and even feet when someone trips over them accidentally. If you find a few sprinklers that are a little bent, straighten them out carefully.

Inspect the Other Parts of the Irrigation System

Once you’ve finished checking the sprinkler heads, proceed with inspecting the valves, pipes, and other components that you’re able to access. If you find any damaged parts, make sure to get them fixed as soon as possible. Putting off repairs can result in a range of problems, including:

  • Wasted water, which translates to a higher utility bill
  • Inconsistent watering, causing your grass and other plants to wither and die
  • Increased pest problems (if the water forms puddles around the lawn). Standing water is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, as they lay their eggs on the water.
  • Mold problems and even property damage caused by leaks in the sprinkler system

Revisit Your Sprinkler Controller

An irrigation controller is a vital part of a sprinkler system. This tool applies water at the right time and in the necessary quantity to achieve high levels of water efficiency.

A defective controller may cause watering problems even if all the other components of your sprinkler is working well. When revisiting your controller, check the settings and perform readjustments to the irrigation system’s schedule that will be necessary to keep up with the hot temperatures of summer.

Here’s a scheduling tip: The best time of day to water your yard is where there’s dew on the ground, and the air temperature is lower. Usually, the temperature of the air is at its lowest in the early morning or late evening. Watering your plants during the “coldest” part of a hot day helps minimize your overall water usage and slows down the evaporation of your irrigation water.

Perform a Pressure Test

The next step after correctly setting up the controller is to test the water pressure that traverses through the sprinkler system. Here’s what you should do when performing this procedure:

  • Begin by allowing water to fill up the system gradually. Filling up the water too quickly could increase the pressure, resulting in damage to the pipes.
  • Turn the system on and use a pressure gauge to determine the amount of water pressure applied to your system’s pipes.
  • Get in touch with a technician if there are issues with the water pressure. If the pressure is too high, it could point to an excessive amount of water traveling through the system or an obstruction somewhere in the pipes. On the other hand, low water pressure indicates a leak in the system.

When to Replace Your Irrigation System

If your lawn sprinkler system is working normally but isn’t doing an efficient job in watering your landscape during summertime, it may be a good idea to upgrade or replace it with a new one. Here are factors to help you decide if you should get a new system:

  • Major Changes in the Landscape – Landscapes are a living and dynamic system. The irrigation needs of trees and plants will change over time as they grow. On top of that, lawn owners replace the flora with other plants that require different nutritional and watering needs. If your landscape has undergone significant changes, it’s possible that your current sprinklers are not delivering the proper coverage. You may need to add, remove, raise, or lower irrigation heads to accommodate the updated landscape. If you’re unable to adjust your existing sprinkler system to satisfy your lawn’s new conditions, installing new irrigation may be a good idea at this point.
  • Outdated System – Some irrigation systems are sufficiently old that it may be hard to tell when to give up on your existing equipment and get a new one. If you’re spending much time managing and maintaining your irrigation system, this may be a sign to install a more unique and better model.
  • Concerns Regarding Minimizing Water Usage – The irrigation components produced today can conserve more water than those made 10 to 15 years ago. Newer models, for instance, have an auto-program feature that releases the right amount of water. Upgrading to a new lawn sprinkler system will help you cut your water consumption, which, in turn, decreases your utility bill.

When you need help with getting quality, water-smart lawn irrigation systems for your landscape, turn to Landscapes Unlimited. Our water-smart sprinklers use up to 70 percent less water than their manual counterparts, which substantially helps minimize your water bill during the summer. On top of that, the design of our system lets you achieve responsible water-use goals.

We take pride in installing thousands of lawn sprinkler systems throughout St. Paul and Minneapolis. You can count on us to manage and direct the whole installation lifecycle, including the permitting process, utility notifications, and inspections after installation. Plus, you’ll experience minimal disruption when we install your new system.

Get in touch with us today for more information. 

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