Still Trying to Get It Right

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by snmhanson, Jul 2, 2006.

  1. snmhanson

    snmhanson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    I have a somewhat large lawn that is irrigated by several zones all utilizing Hunter I-20 heads. The sprinkler system works great and I have spent quite a bit of time making sure my coverage is uniform. My problem is that I am trying to determine the appropriate watering schedule for my lawn. Up until now I have been running each zone for about 1-1/2 hours once a week which has worked well. I am starting to get brown patches, I presume because the soil is drying out too quickly. My current program is to bump each zone to twice a week for the 1-1/2 hours each time when it starts drying out faster like it is now. I also have an option for 3 times a week if it gets really dry and hot.

    I guess what I am mainly wondering is if watering for the same amount of time two days a week (or maybe even three later in the summer) is the right idea or if I should water a little more often and not quite as long as I currently am - like maybe every other day for one hour per zone. I really want our grass to stay lush and green but last summer our water ran up to $1000 per month so I want to make sure I am using the most efficient schedule. I have alot of flexibility in terms of programming my system so I can set up different cycles and times depending on the season, day of the week, etc... For example, if it would work well to do a long cycle on Monday followed by a shorter cycle on Wednesday and Friday during the summer and only one long cycle on Wednesdays in spring, it would be relatively easy to program. If anyone has and comments or ideas I would really appreciate it. TIA.

    Matt
     
  2. just4me

    just4me LawnSite Member
    from NH
    Posts: 10




    well first of all it should be daily about 15-20 mins. am and pm perfferrably before sun comes about an hour or so before coming out and as well in evening after sun goes down. this way the sun will not dry water out of lawn areas right its applied. If the system is able to be programmed variously then it should have a censor on it if it should rain and how much water intake the lawn gets. check with your local lawn care co. to see what that would be as it varies from zone to zone,meaning soil types, grade levels. Normally your local landscape co. if you call they usually will answer questions like this or reccomend some one who can assist you with this issue
     
  3. Jamesgateslandscaping

    Jamesgateslandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 421

    Water sitting on the lawn during the night is not good, it can cause disease and other headaches:dizzy:
    James
     
  4. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,164

    you want to water a good amount of time before the sun goes down because like james said, the water sitting on the lawn will cause disease.
     
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Agreed, forget watering in the afternoon or evening, if you have an automated system, life is good.
    I would switch the schedule to VERY early AM (like 4 or 5 AM), do that for 2 weeks and see what happens.

    AM is the BEST time, 4-5 AM, the schools of thought vary but anywhere in that range, 3AM is a bit too early, 6AM is a tad late.

    Now I water my lawn with a farm sprinkler and that stays on for 2 hours, but that's on a hose and covers a BIG area. Automated sprinkler systems cover less area and hence deposit a LOT more water in far less time.
    So if it's very dry, I think 20 minutes / zone, 3 times a week.
     
  6. parkeeee

    parkeeee LawnSite Member
    Posts: 227

    As stated on here, turf should be like a baby, dry when put to bed and wet when woken up.
     
  7. just4me

    just4me LawnSite Member
    from NH
    Posts: 10


    Yes puddles in lawn would cause disease and other head aches as well thu if your getting puddles then you need to do something about it the grade of your lawn really should have a gentle slope from the beginning in order to allow the flow of water to avoid the puddles, as well as the night and puddles accumalating it is not good for the lawn to be dried out in hot sun being watered. :nono:
     
  8. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    Short frequent waterings are about the worst thing you could do for your lawn, about as bad as letting water puddle. By watering manytimes but for short periods of time, you are not encouraging any deep root growth. Deep root growth is what helps your lawn survive dry spells.

    You need to find out just how much water you are putting for a given time frame. Put a couple rain guages or coffee cans out the next time you water Actually measure the amount of water you put down (ie how deep is the water in the can) If the water is puddling in your yard, then you are watering too much. The brown patches you are seeing could be brown patch disease, and not a dry spot at all...

    Soild types will also affect how your water puddles. IE sandy soil you coudl water all night andnot get any puddling, but if you have a clay soil 30 minutes of water you might get puddles. Another option to prevent puddling woudl be run each zone for 20 minutes, and then start the program over again in the same time frame. This gives the water a chance to infiltrate the soil but still give you the oppurtunity to put adequate water down each time you water.

    Yet another option would be to run only a couple zones each night as close to daybreak as you can.

    I have zones running from 10pm until 7am....With events, and scheduled mow days. I have little choice...
     
  9. snmhanson

    snmhanson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    Thanks for the responses. I have been experimenting with watering times and schedules and am hopefully getting it dialed in. I think one problem I am having is that our soil is fairly quick draining so it kind of needs some extra water between longer cycles. In any case I think I am heading towards one long cycle per week and several short 15-20 minute "maintainance" cycles during the week between the deep waterings, unless of course someone tells me that would be a mistake. Thanks again for the advice.

    Matt
     
  10. HazyDavy

    HazyDavy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 102

    You might want to see how much water your sprinklers put out. Put a rain gauge or tuna can out in several spots, then run the sprinklers for 15 minutes. See how much you get. You should put down about 1 inch of water per week. That includes rainfall. My Hunter sprayheads put out about 1/4" in 10 minutes.

    You're probably putting down WAY too much water. Also, you need to water in the early morning. I run my sprinklers at 5AM and am done watering by 6AM.
     

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