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03 Jan 2023

How Long Should I Run Drip Irrigation?

Drip irrigation is a highly effective way to water your plants and garden. But with any irrigation system, it’s important to strike the right balance between ensuring that your plants get enough water without wasting it or flooding the soil. So, how long should you run your drip irrigation system?

Trees that need a lot of water may need about 90 minutes twice a month and the water should reach a depth of 12”. A flower bed may need watering for 60 minutes twice a week. Watering time for drip irrigation depends on the emitters being used and the plants being watered.   

Drip irrigation is a more targeted approach than traditional sprinklers, as the water is delivered directly to the base of the plants, reducing the risk of overwatering and promoting deeper root growth. Keep reading to learn how you can optimize your drip irrigation watering times below. 

Benefits of Drip Irrigation

Before we dive into specific recommendations for different plants, let’s take a quick look at the benefits of drip irrigation:

  • Water efficiency: Because drip irrigation delivers water directly to the plant’s roots, less water is lost to evaporation and runoff. Most drip systems are between 85% and 90% efficient. This makes it a more efficient way to water your garden, especially in dry or hot climates.
  • Plant health: As mentioned, drip irrigation promotes deep root growth, which is essential for the overall health of your plants. Deep roots help plants to withstand drought conditions and recover more quickly from dry spells.
  • Pest control: Using drip irrigation can also help to reduce the risk of certain pests and diseases. For example, wet leaves are more susceptible to fungal infections, and standing water can attract mosquitoes and other pests. By watering at the base of the plants, you reduce these risks.

Drip Irrigation Time for Different Plants

Now that we’ve covered the general benefits of drip irrigation, let’s look at how long you should run it for different kinds of plants:

  • Annuals and perennials: Flowers typically require more frequent watering, as they have shallow root systems. As a general rule, aim to water these plants once or twice a week, depending on the weather and soil conditions. These flowers need approximately an inch of water or 5 gallons per square yard. You need to make the calculations for your situation, but if you’re using a dripline with ½  gallon/hour emitters, You’ll want to water your flowers about 60 minutes twice a week. 
  • Trees and shrubs: These plants have deeper root systems and are more drought-tolerant, so they can typically go longer between waterings. Aim to water these plants once or twice a month for about 90 minutes or when the water has reached over 12” deep, depending on the weather and soil conditions. When planning the irrigation for a tree make sure that your irrigation is on the outside half between the edge of the canopy and the trunk. Having the irrigation too close to the trunk will not lead to healthy root growth. 
  • Vegetables: Vegetables have different water needs depending on the type of plant and the stage of growth. For example, young seedlings and fast-growing plants like tomatoes and cucumbers may require more frequent watering, while root plants like potatoes and carrots can go longer between waterings. The time depends on the plants you plant but 60 minutes twice a week is a good starting point. 
  • Lawns: Drip irrigation is not typically used for lawns. Since a normal drip system can’t be completely buried without getting clogged, it has to be on top of the surface in the grass which would make the lawn unpleasant to walk on and could potentially be damaged during lawn maintenance or if anyone drives onto the grass. That said your grass needs about 1” of water per week, so if you’re irrigating with a correctly installed drip system you’ll want to run your system for about an hour every other day. 

For a more exact calculation of watering times, check out this equation for calculating water time with drip irrigation from the Utah State University Forestry Extension. 

Landscaped flower bed that could be watered with Drip Irrigation

How Does Soil Composition Affect Watering Times?

Different Soil Types have different watering requirements and will affect how long you need to water your beds. 

Clay-like soils have very fine particles and tend to be very dense soil. This soil can take a long time to absorb the water, but it will stay moist for longer. Water will also spread out more in clay soils, which makes it so you can spread out that your emitters can be spaced further apart. Generally, you’ll need to water the area longer than in other soils, but not as often.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are sandy soils. This soil has larger particles and is less dense. This means that it doesn’t hold water very well, so it needs to be watered more frequently, but it doesn’t need to be watered for as long each time. 

How Does Rain Affect Watering Times?

Getting rain is almost always a good thing for your garden and trees and means that you don’t have to run your system as long during the week. It also means that you can save water which is good for the environment and saves you money. 

When it rains during the week, you’ll want to look up how much it rained and then you can subtract that from the amount you need to water during the week. Doing this will ensure that you are as efficient as possible and don’t overwater your plant. 

Some irrigation systems, like Rainbird, have smart controllers which can connect to wifi and will adjust your watering schedule automatically based on rainfall.

If you’d like to upgrade your system, Sprinkler Master can help you find one that will work for you.

Hire a Professional

Drip irrigation is a highly efficient and effective way to water your plants and garden. By following the guidelines outlined above, you can ensure that your plants get the water they need to thrive.

If you have questions about drip irrigation or need help with sprinkler repair, don’t hesitate to contact Sprinkler Master. We’re here to help keep your irrigation system running smoothly and efficiently.

References

“Drip Irrigation.” URI HomeASyst, University of Rhode Island, 5 Aug. 2014, https://web.uri.edu/safewater/protecting-water-quality-at-home/sustainable-landscaping/drip-irrigation/

Goldy, Ron. “Soil Type Influences Irrigation Strategy.” MSU Extension, Michigan State University, 21 Jan. 2022, https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/soil_type_influences_irrigation_strategy

Kuhns, Mike. “Drip Irrigation for Trees.” Utah State University- Forestry Extension, Utah State University, https://forestry.usu.edu/trees-cities-towns/tree-care/drip-irrigation. “Tree Watering Guidelines.” Canopy, Canopy, 28 Oct. 2016, https://canopy.org/tree-info/caring-for-trees/trees-and-water/watering-guidelines/.

07 Oct 2019

Sprinkler Winterization 3 Facts (Blow Out)

  Contacts us:   

1) When to Winterize your sprinkler system

When temperatures reach around 50°f or lower it a great time to blow the water out the sprinkler system.  Your lawn will begin going into dormancy start going a greenish-yellow and will stay that way till spring. According to Central sod farms (1), Inc. the lawn/grass does this to preserve energy. With your lawn in dormancy, it does not need watering then.

2) Why Winterize Your Lawn Sprinkler Unit?

Getting your lawn sprinkler system winterized for the cold weather is crucial for keeping your lawn irrigation system ready for spring and summer next year. This will help with the costs of sprinkler repair. The best way to winterize a sprinkler system the water must be blown out of your lawn sprinkler system with a high air volume air compressor to prevent freezing.

When water is expanded as it freezes by 10% this energy has to go somewhere and it will crack the hardest of materials. Ice will break any part on a sprinkler system including steel pipes and backflow devices, causing a lot of damage and costing money in the spring for sprinkler repair work.  Water can move a 10-15 ton of rocks and a 3-inch solid steel ship hull when frozen. Your sprinkler system has no chance with this amount of power (2). That is why you need to remove water in your lawn sprinkler system in the Northern United States.

Here at Sprinkler Master in the Northern United States, we are professional sprinkler technicians. All we do is repair sprinklers, and the majority of sprinkler repair is caused by sprinklers not being winterized, or not doing it properly.

3) How to winterize a sprinkler system

Can you do it yourself or have a friend do it? Yes, with the proper tools, and knowledge. The majority of sprinkler repair in the comes from sprinkler systems not being blown out correctly.

The right air compressor

The major key when winterizing a sprinkler system is having a large volume of air go through the sprinkler system.  To do this the common person needs to rent an air compressor for around the same price as Sprinkler Master charges to come do it for you. We are licensed, insured and back up our work. Most sprinkler systems cost around $75 to winterize.

Can I use my home or small air compressor?  When people use their small air compressor almost always it does not work and will take most of your day up. You need around 80-100 cfm (3), an average residential air compressor does 2 cfm. Blowing it out with a small compressor is taking a big risk(4).  To blowout your system it does not matter if your air compress goes up to 100-200 psi you will need air volume and psi to push all the water out of the sprinkler pipes (5).

 

Here at Sprinkler Master, all we do is sprinkler system repair. We do thousands of sprinkler repairs every year and a majority of our customers are people who did not winterized their sprinklers system right. We are licensed and insured; we back up our work!

Sprinkler winterization(blowout) prices start at $75 for an average sprinkler system under 6 zones.

Find Local TechnicianMake an appointment

Contacts us:

3 Facts about Sprinkler Winterization (Blow Out)

  1. When to winterize your sprinkler system.
  2. Why Winterize?
  3. How to winterize a lawn/irrigation system.

Sprinkler Master Northern United States go through a 5 steps checklist to turning off your lawn irrigation system.

  1. We will shut off your main line or stop and waste valve.
  2. We will then hook up our commercial air compressor and run through each zone to  insure that each zone on the sprinkler system is adequately drained to prevent damage.
  3. We then set the sprinkler timer accordingly for winter use.
  4. If necessary depending upon your sprinkler system, we will open the bleeder valves.
  5. We shut down the back flow turning the ports to open and putting the ball vales to a 45° degrees.

31 Jan 2019

Snow Mold Can Hurt Your Lawn

Snow molds are usually small and circular. They will have a variety of colors as the mold matures from grey, brown, to the mature stage of dark red or even black. To know for sure if it is snow mold,  take a sample into your county extension,  where they can give you a proper diagnosis.

Stopping Snow Mold on Turf Grass

Fall preparation:  Don’t put down fertilizer on your lawn after the 1st frost comes in the fall. Putting down fertilizer too late will feed to mold, not the grass. For the best prevention apply fungicides in mid-fall before the frost.    

Keep Grass longer the last cut of your lawn in the fall should be 20% higher than when you normally cut the lawn. Make sure the lawn is clean of debris like dead leaves.

Spring preparation: break up large amounts of snow that are having trouble melting.

Having a great offense or a healthy lawn is the best defenses, having a healthy lawn with a great soil ph level will help to prevent snow mold. To have your soil checked for the ph level area check us out here.

 

Other things that can cause damage to your lawn.

Website Links:  

  1. State-by-State List of Soil Testing Labs at Cooperative Extension Offices
  2. How to Prevent Lawn & Grass Diseases

Citations:

Couch, H.B.  1995. Diseases of Turfgrasses, 3rd ed.  Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, FL. pp. 25-28.

Smiley, R.W., Dernoeden, P.H., and Clarke, B.B.  2005. Compendium of Turfgrass Diseases, 3rd ed. APS Press, St. Paul, MN. pp. 91-94.

By: Sprinkler Master Repair Franchise

06 Jun 2018

Tip # 1 Aeration

Follow our 6 tips to have the best looking lawn on the block this summer!

Aerate your lawn – Aerating your lawn in the spring is an essential step for having a great lawn this summer. Aerating your lawn allows essential nutrients and water to get down to the roots.

Want to do it yourself? Check out this video to learn how!

 

https://youtu.be/uQ6v3DG2bHM

 

Here’s the equipment you’ll need:

https://www.amazon.com/Agri-Fab-45-0365-16-Inch-Spike-Aerator/dp/B0007VTQRK/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1525805920&sr=8-4&keywords=aerating+tool

 

https://www.amazon.com/TACKLIFE-Aerator-Aerating-Aluminium-Adjustable/dp/B074RD2G9J/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1525805920&sr=8-6&keywords=aerating+tool

Don’t have time for a DIY? These businesses can give you a hand.

 

https://www.lawndoctor.com/

 

https://www.trugreen.com/products-and-services/aeration

03 Apr 2018

Spring Sprinkler Startup

The 8 Steps to getting your lawn sprinklers going.

  1. Reseal all sprinkler plugs or drain valves.
  2. Open main stop and waste or main sprinkler valve slowly.
  3. Do visual inspections of the main line, valve manifold, and backflow unit.
  4. Make adjustments to the sprinkler valves by turning off the bleeder screws and adjusting the flow control to the proper setting for your system.
  5. Power up the sprinkler timer, then run through each zone to make sure it is getting power and turn the valve on correctly.
  6. Check to make sure that sprinklers are working correctly on all zones and make any minor adjustments.
  7. Check each lateral line to ensure that they boost each individual zone. Then perform a thorough examination of the lateral supply lines. Check sprinkler heads and risers for proper process and direction. Appraise each area for correct coverage and accurate performance pressure. Any alterations, modifications, or repairs needed will be noted. Several common repairs/adjustments are:
    1. Garden sprinklers may need to be raised due to shrub or flower growth.
    2. Pop-up sprinkler heads may need to be transferred due to shrub or flower growth, landscape changes, fence or tree installations.
    3. Bad sprinkler nozzles that are not spraying right may need to be replaced
    4. Sprinkler lines, main or lateral lines, that are broken need to be repaired.
    5. Sprinkler electrical issues, such as a timer or valve solenoid problems, need to be resolved.
  8. Adjust the Sprinkler timer to the weather for the season and program it for how long it will run and what days/time of day it will come on.

Sprinkler Master specializes in sprinkler repair for all types of systems and every type of lawn and/or garden. We strive for outstanding customer service through excellent communication and work quality. Our goal is to make sure that you are satisfied with your Sprinkler Master experience!