Believe it or not, spring is right around the corner. If you are among the many property owners who have already switched to an irrigation system to save water and hassles, now is the time to start thinking about when to turn it back on for the growing season. Here are a few hints to help you determine the best time to turn on your sprinkler system, and how to set your irrigation system to ensure a perfect lawn.

When Should I Turn on my Sprinkler System?

Like most things in life, there are no clear answers, but more than enough opinions to go around. People generally fall into one of two different camps: Those who make the decision based on the calendar and those who let the weather dictate when they turn on their systems. Each approach has its own unique advantages, but both also have potential downsides.

By the Calendar

The simpler method is to go by the calendar. Many homeowners who don’t want to worry about weather forecasts find everything usually works out just fine if they turn their sprinkler systems during the first week of April. The reasoning is sound. By April, the ground is no longer cold or damp, and the risk of water freezing and destroying your system is extremely low. But this can mean that your soil may develop dry patches, especially in areas with better drainage. Using this method, you will need to monitor the moisture level in your soil and occasionally provide supplementary watering.

By the Forecast

Determining the best time to start your irrigation based on the forecast can be trickier. If you had an unusually mild and dry winter, turning on your sprinkler system as early as possible can ensure your lawn is well watered, but it does increase the possibility that a sudden snap of cold weather may freeze the water in your system and damage it. Before you turn on your sprinkler system early, make sure that there are no expectations of a sudden frost.

How to Change the Settings on Your Irrigation System

Once you decide when to turn on your system, you need to set it up. Before turning on the water, make sure that you visually inspect the entire irrigation system from the water source to the sprinkler heads. Look out for any cracks or clogs.

While every automatic irrigation system is different most require the same steps for setting up:

  1. Choose which program you want to set. Many controllers allow for multiple water programs, so choose which one you want to change.
  2. Set the current time.
  3. If your irrigation system has multiple zones, choose the zone you want to set.
  4. Select how much watering time you want that zone to receive.
  5. Choose a time when you want the watering for that zone to begin.
  6. You can repeat the steps to program the watering time and the time you want it to start for each zone in your system. If you want, and your controller allows it, you can create additional watering programs.

Do you find your automatic irrigation system confusing? Let the landscaping experts at Green Acres Landscape take care of everything for you. Book a service call. A professional technician will come to your property and get your sprinkler system up and running worry-free. Call 503-399-8066 for more information.