Tune-Up Your Irrigation System in Time for Summer

By Steve Jacobs, Nature Designs

We all know the saying “April showers bring May flowers.” However, because we are experiencing a drought, April showers aren’t likely this year. Therefore, it’s our irrigation systems that will be yielding the May bloom and helping to maintain the overall health of our gardens and lawns. Did you know that for every 1,000 square feet of Fescue lawn you have, it takes approximately 35,000 gallons of water a year to keep it healthy? And like most plants, it requires even more water in the summer months. In other words, you’ll be depending even more on your irrigation system this summer. In order to conserve water, Nature Designs recommends an irrigation tune-up. The following are steps you should take to make sure your irrigation system is working as efficiently as possible:

  • Run your irrigation system and check each zone for overspray, misaligned heads, timing, leaks, and run off.
  • Check for leaking valves. Water weeping from the lowest head on the line can be a symptom of a leaking valve.
  • Check your soil for green or black moss, mushrooms, or dusty appearance.
  • Eliminate wet and dry areas by always having the same type of irrigation head within each zone (don’t mix different types of heads) to ensure a more uniform precipitation rate.
  • Install drip irrigation in small planting spaces to direct water flow precisely to plant roots. Drip irrigation can also minimize nutrition loss, runoff, soil erosion, damage to your home and weed growth.
  • Consider installing a pressure regulator if you are experiencing water loss due to fogging (water that floats away from the intended site). If you notice fogging, the water pressure is too high. Pressure regulators also help mitigate damage done to irrigation system’s pipes, heads and valves caused by excessive water pressure.
  • If your irrigation controller is more than 5 years old, consider replacing it with a ‘smart’ controller. There are some smart controllers which can be programmed remotely with a phone application or personal computer. Smart controllers have the capability of automatically modifying your watering schedule to allow for changes in water needs throughout the year. For example, it will automatically reduce the amount of water your garden receives as the weather gets cooler, when less water is needed. As the weather begins to warm up, it will increase the amount of water.

Nature Design offers expert irrigation maintenance service. We can check your irrigation system weekly which includes inspection for proper operation and adjusting the irrigation controller. A zone map is also prepared for each property we maintain, and an irrigation technician is available for larger repairs and emergency calls. To learn how we can help save you water, money, the planet, and your garden by increasing the efficiency of your irrigation system, log onto or give us a call at (760) 945-4321.