Irrigation & Sprinkler System Startup
The goal of any underground irrigation system is to water a lawn as efficiently as possible. While a well-built system, professionally-installed by a trusted expert like GrassMasters is a good start, there are some tips and strategies to follow that will improve irrigation efficiency.
For clients who don’t wish to do their own spring startup, we offer maintenance plans that will take care of both spring preparation and winterization.
EXAMINE YOUR SOIL
Season changes can be deceptive; a warm spring day does not necessarily mean your ground has thawed enough for irrigation to resume. To avoid damaging your pipes, use a shovel to check that the soil has thawed fully up to 12 inches.
PREP YOUR CONTROLLER
Make sure your system’s controller is ready for summer by replacing the batteries, double-checking the time and date, and cleaning off the face and buttons. Make sure that all programs or settings fit the needs of your lawn.
HOW TO START UP YOUR SYSTEM
The process of starting up is simply the opposite of shutting down your system.
- Locate the green boxes in the yard and close the hose bibs.
- Go to the backflow preventer, close both test ports with your screwdriver, and close both green handles.
- Head to the basement and close the hose bib above the bucket. Then, slowly open the handle below the hose bib, turning on the water to your irrigation system.
- Go back outside to the backflow preventer. Open the bottom green handle first. This will drop a small amount of water out of the top brass lid. Next, slowly open the top green handle, filling the entire sprinkler main.
- Finally, head to the sprinkler clock and start your irrigation system.
INSPECT YOUR SPRINKLER HEADS, NOZZLES, PIPES, AND VALVES
Take a walk around your property and make sure that all sprinkler heads are clear and unobstructed by rocks or other debris. Make sure the heads are clean and free of compacted dirt, and check for any heads that have been buried. This is a great time to replace any parts that are cracked or damaged by yard tools or machinery. A damaged or overworn sprinkler can result in inefficient watering and an unhealthy lawn or landscaped beds.
It’s also extremely important to spend time inspecting your system’s valves. Make sure there are no leaks, and that manual valves are in the closed position before turning on the water.
MIND YOUR PRESSURE
Water pressure is a major factor to be aware of when starting up your sprinkler system in the spring. When turning the system on for the first time, it’s important to open the main valve slowly and gradually in order to avoid burst pipes and expensive damages.
It’s also necessary to check the overall water pressure of your property to ensure that your underground irrigation equipment works efficiently and for as long as possible. By using a water pressure gauge, you can judge the pressure going through your irrigation system and adjust to an appropriate level.
TAKE A WALK
Once you’ve taken care of the initial precautions and your system is up and running, take a walk around your property to make sure each sprinkler head is working efficiently. If all seems well, set your controller for the automatic scheduling needed for your lawn and let it do the rest of the work. If you notice problems, don’t hesitate to call us here at GrassMasters; we’re always ready to help.
For questions or service, please call us at 616-383-1054.
PLAN AND DETAILS
|Spring:||During spring, fertilize and water your trees so they grow strong and healthy in the summer. It’s a bad idea to prune most trees in the spring because they are actively growing branches, buds and leaves. However, it’s a good time to plant new trees, so do your shopping early so your tree is in the ground for the heavy spring growing period.|
|Summer:||In the summer, you should mostly leave your trees alone. Only conduct minor trimming or hazard removal if required. Unusually dry weather may require some extra watering, but if you water your grass regularly, your trees should be fine too.|
|Fall:||Usually, trees go into their dormant phase in the fall season. This is the time to do major pruning and trimming to prepare the tree for next year. Remove dead and diseased branches, trim the top and sides for access to sunlight and for shape and generally complete any work that requires more than a few snips.|
|Winter:||You can leave your trees alone during the winter. Protect them against the cold and snow if necessary. Use the winter to fell any trees that are dead, dying or may damage your home. However, note that winter is actually the best time to prune your trees. Arborists are also less busy, which may lead to lower prices.|
Pruning the tips of the branches every year on a lilac will cut off next year’s flower buds. Wait to renewal prune until after your lilacs bloom so you don’t cut off flower buds, removing the oldest branches to allow new young growth to form. An old overgrown lilac can be cut off at the ground and allowed to start over, but then may not bloom for a few years. What holds true for lilacs does not hold true for all flowering shrubs. Flower buds on roses and potentillas are formed on new growth, so pruning will not discourage their flowering.
It is better to plant shrubs and trees that will not outgrow their space. But renewal pruning or removing entire older stems and branches can control their size. Or you can even cut shrubs off completely at ground level to rejuvenate them.
Yes, recent research has shown the healing advantage of pruning branches exactly at the growth collar (a swelling of the union of the branch and the trunk). Do not leave a stub where decay, insects, and disease can enter. When shortening shoots, cut just above a growth bud facing outward from the tree or shrub. If you make cuts to an inward-turning bud, the new growth will eventually cross and rub other branches.
The latest thinking is that tree wound dressings are not needed on pruning cuts. Wounds will close by a natural callus with exposure to air.