Print: Sprinkler System Procedures Bulletin
How to prepare your Sprinkler System
Please read this bulletin then give it to your Sprinkler System Technicians to read over, when they come out to start up your system in the Spring. Have them check if the following components are working properly
– Please replace your present controller with the new Smart Controller. properly-adjusted Smart Controller will automatically adjust the season-adjust feature on your controller on a daily basis based on the current weather conditions. This will ensure that your lawn and landscape receive the proper amount of water all season long. It will eliminate multiple service call fees for the adjustment of your controller. A smart controller will decrease the total amount of water used per season and will, in turn, save you approximately 30% on your water and sewer bill.
Can the controller be located outside for better access for the technician when you are away?
2. Control Valves
3. Sprinkler Heads
– Are they damaged?
– Are they properly covering the areas that they are supposed to?
– Have bushes or trees grown bigger since the system was installed
preventing areas of your lawn from not being watered?
– If the sprinkler heads need to be replace, can the sprinkler technicians
use the new water saver kind?
4. Rain gauge (Not needed when you have a Smart Controller)
– Is it clean and working properly?
– If you don’t have a rain gauge, I would have one installed.
This will prevent over-watering.
How to program your Sprinkler System including a Smart Controller
Drought-prone areas and plants that need more water:
1. Southwest exposure (afternoon sun) areas.
2. Areas located around tree roots. Remember that tree roots will extend well beyond the tree’s drip line.
3. Areas located next to paved areas where the soil temperatures can be 5 degrees higher than the areas further away.
4. Larger zones that take longer to water.
5. Shallow-rooted plants, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, etc. plus both annual and perennial flower plantings and vegetable gardens.
Areas or plants that could be damaged by over-watering:
1. Poorly-drained areas.
2. Deeply-shaded areas.
3. Shrubs such as yews, junipers, holly bushes, etc.
**Remember when setting water times in your beds, think plants not water pressure.
Seasonal programming for systems without a Smart Controller.
Program A: Late Spring through Early Summer and Fall when temperatures are 80 to 85 degrees and there is no measurable weekly rainfall and without a Smart Controller.
Water Time: Program the sprinkler to run anytime between 5 a.m. and 1 p.m. You do not want to water in the middle of the night. If water pressure is a problem when your sprinkler is running, you want to program your starting time before or after your routine indoor water use, such as taking showers or doing laundry.
Water Days: Program your system to come on 3 days a week for lawn areas and 2 days a week for beds. Be sure to schedule around weekly grass-cutting services. For example, if your lawn is cut on Thursday, your watering schedule should look like the following:
Lawn — Monday – Wednesday – Friday
Beds — – Tuesday – Thursday –
You do not want to mow your lawn when it is wet. Therefore, it is important that you check with your grasscutters to ask what day they intend to mow your lawn this year. Explain to them that they need to mow on that day of the week, since your sprinkler will be programmed not to turn on that day. In addition, it is important that your system has a rain gauge. The reason is that if it rains on the day your lawn is scheduled to be mowed and it cannot be mowed, the rain gauge will prevent your sprinkler from coming on the following day when the grasscutter would come to mow. Be sure to inform your sprinkler technicians what day your lawn is to be mowed.
Zone Times: Since the individual zones on your lawn and beds vary in size and type of sprinkler heads, you need to have your sprinkler technician program the system to water each zone 1 to 1-1/2 inches per week, which will water the root zone of your grass to a depth of 4 to 6 inches.
Summer: When temperatures are 85 to 90 degrees or above and there is no measurable rainfall for a week or more and without a Smart Controller.
Increase the water budget or seasonal adjustment control, which is marked on your controller. This will automatically program each zone to water longer. For systems not equipped with a water budget or seasonal adjustment control button, you will need to increase the running time of each zone individually, as weather conditions change.
In the Fall, when lower temperatures return you will need to reduce the amount of water use to the original Program A’s level by decreasing the water budget or seasonal adjustment control or by decreasing the running time of each zone individually, if your control box doesn’t have that option. You can call to have your sprinkler technicians do this or they can show you how to adjust it. For more detailed information on watering times, please check “Weather Updates” on our website.
Special circumstances when programming your sprinkler.
(1) For my customers who have a large lawn and cannot water the entire lawn in one day using Program A, please have your sprinkler technicians set up Program B to water on the other days remembering not to water the lawn area on the day that lawn is mowed.
(2) For my customers who have wells, please have your sprinkler technicians check that you have enough water pressure and supply. If you don’t, they may have to program your system to water more often and for shorter periods of time and different times of the day.
(3) Finocchiaro Landscape Company technicians are trained on how to properly program your sprinkler system.
Winterizing your system
The Fall is the best time for your lawn, bushes and trees to recover from the summer stress periods, store water for the dry late fall and damaging winter winds, and prepare for next spring’s growth. For this reason I would not have your system winterized before November 15th.
With this bulletin, I hope to coordinate our services on your lawn with the proper watering technique and not mowing when it is wet. If you do not know how to program and run your system, have your sprinkler technicians show you when they come out to start your system in the Spring. It might prevent a service call during the year.
Please include this bulletin with your other sprinkler system information. Additional copies are available, if needed.