Sprinkler heads too deep ???

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Lawn Pawn, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. Lawn Pawn

    Lawn Pawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from zone 3
    Messages: 568

    I'm only a mowing guy, but for my own satisfaction, is there a rule of thumb for how deep you let pop-up heads get until you raise them?.... if you even do.

    Have been mowing this property since it was new construction, about five years now and some of the heads are three to four inches under the sod/black dirt height. Yes they all appear to be working fine but it seems like asking for trouble from an obstruction when retracting, with them receding this much.

    Off main topic but... have noticed last three four times I have mowed I could feel the mower bog down and lug a bit over certain areas of this same lawn. When I would walk it trimming, same areas my feet would move side to side. Stopped today and I could push my finger full length into the ground! They are watering it into mush! Or maybe it could be a break in the line somewhere? Really surprised it's not rutting terrible. Did mention this to them but seemed unconcerned.

    But my question was on the depth of the heads... thanks
  2. muddywater

    muddywater LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,813

    They will wear out faster if they are that low because dirt will scratch the part of the rotor that pops up and eventually it will not retract. But they can still last years if they are installed that low. Usually they are installed in a trench and the crew does not compact the soil beneath the head and they sink over time.

    Could be a valve seeping to the lowest/nearest head and causes those wet spots, but then again it could be a break, or a valve box might be near and it is leaking out of a valve, or they could be watering too much, or they could have a drainage problem etc.
  3. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,168

    The least you should be doing is trimming around the heads and making sure there is no thatch down there, holding the heads from sealing. Yes, they should be raised, especially if they are 4 inchers, one reason I use 6" in turf. That being said, one of my sites that is going on 9 years is going to get some serious raising next year! Swing joints rule.

    MEXANDME LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 396


    When raising sprays (or even rotors for that matter), do you use male-to-female cutoff extensions, or Marlex connectors, or just dig back and expose enough funny pipe to raise them?


  5. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,749

    It depends on the soil conditions. Sometimes a few marlex ells can work wonders.
  6. greenmonster304

    greenmonster304 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,690

  7. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,168

    Every head I install is on swing joints with a Marlex at the head. Boots is correct, an extra Marlex sometimes does the trick. I used cut-offs years ago, but found swing joints to be much more efficient.
  8. muddywater

    muddywater LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,813

    We had to raise 600 heads on swing joints last year at one job. We just dug them up and pulled them up
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  9. muddywater

    muddywater LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,813

    You still involved with your business?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. Sprinkler Buddy

    Sprinkler Buddy LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,185

    It is common for home owners to ignore the warning signs that there's a problem. They will often wait until they have no choice but to make a repair, often this occurs after an area of the lawn looks horrible or they have a geyser in the lawn when the sprinklers come on.

    I know your only the lawn man as you stated but when it happens, most often you will get the call to remedy the problem. Irrigation pros are rare in my area and what they charge for out of town calls, the homeowners will often calls us when it happens.

    Be Prepared

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