Proper watering is crucial to keeping your lawn green and healthy looking.  As the temperatures heat up, you may start to notice brown patches in your lawn because of problems with your irrigation system.  If you have an automatic sprinkler system we have some tips on how to locate problems as well as preventative checks to keep the system running properly.
At the beginning of the watering season and periodically thereafter check the controller or timer.  Replace the backup battery, upgrade or install add-on sensors, and clean weather sensors as needed.  It is recommended that you adjust your timer monthly to account for changes in heat and weather.    A typical lawn should receive 1 to 1 ½ inches of water weekly through infrequent and deep watering. You can’t determine if your lawn needs more water by simply looking at the grass, instead you must look at the soil.  Take a sample of the top six inches of soil and if the soil is moist and sticks together it is receiving enough water.
Check your sprinklers often to confirm they are spraying properly.  Look for tilted or sunken sprinklers and fix to avoid brown spots.  Clear away grass, dirt, or weeds from sprinkler heads.  Check for clogs and clean the filters.  Make sure they are not overspraying onto hardscapes, houses, or fences which can cause damage to said surfaces as well as waste water.   Also make sure that your sprinklers do not cause excessive misting which can be caused by high water pressure and can be remedied with a pressure regulator at the beginning of the system or at the source with pressure-regulating heads or pressure-compensating nozzles.
Check the irrigation valves to make sure they are functioning properly and look for leaks.  Valves tend to be a source for constant leaks in the system.  A worn out diaphragm in the valve assembly results in water seeping down the irrigation pipes to the lowest sprinkler head.  If you notice a sprinkler head that always seems to have a little flow of water or even moss growing around it, it is a good indication of a problem at the valve.
You should probably flush irrigation lines and filters once or twice a year (even more if you have untreated water).  You can do this by finding the “end cap” which should be at the furthest point from the valve box.  Open the cap and let the system run to flush out any debris that could be clogging the line.  Make sure you turn off the water before you recap your line. 
You also need to make sure that the backflow prevention is functioning properly.  More and more cities are requiring that you have your system checked by a certified backflow inspector in order to keep city water lines free of pollutants.

Regular maintenance of your irrigation system can help to avoid major malfunctions down the road.  At Organic Solutions! Inc., we recognize that today’s irrigation systems can be difficult to set, maintain, and repair.  If you would like one of our expert team members to walk you through your system, check for appropriate coverage, and make repairs, call us today, 208-884-8986.  And remember that we also do end of season sprinkler blow-outs and beginning of season sprinkler turn-ons as well.

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