We have all seen automatic sprinkler systems gone wrong: watering the sidewalk or driveway, watering at high noon (when the water will just evaporate without doing any good), and watering while it’s raining! Don’t let this happen to you. Here are some ideas for how to maximize your irrigation system when temperatures rise.
- Let the lawn show you when it needs water. Walk across the lawn late in the day and look back for your footprints. If your footprints remain in the grass after several minutes, the blades are so low on water that they have lost their ability to spring back. Consider watering if you want to prevent the grass from going dormant.
- Prioritize. You may not need to water every square foot of your lawn. Some areas will be especially dry (high spots, areas with sandy soil), while others are fine without extra help.
- Aerate. Areas with compacted clay soil benefit from aeration. The little cores hollowed out by an core aerator reduce surface runoff and help the lawn hold on to every last drop of water.
- Manage Irrigation System Settings. While automatic sprinkler settings are great when you’re away on vacation, you can maximize the efficiency of your system by using manual settings. Also, consider a rain shut-off device that overrides the automatic settings when it rains.
- Check hoses spigots and valves. Fix and replace as necessary.
- Check sprinkler heads. At the beginning of the season, make sure all the sprinkler heads are spraying in an even pattern and in the direction you choose.
- Calibrate your irrigation system. Many people “guesstimate” watering time without really knowing just how much water they are applying. Too little water and your lawn suffers. Too much water is inefficient and wasteful. Figuring just how much water your particular sprinklers deliver over time is as easy as putting down a few coffee cans and measuring the amount of water they catch in 15 minutes. Follow the simple steps on the Clemson Extension website to calibrate your irrigation system correctly.