on June 17 2013
Green grass, blooming flowers and full, leafy trees are all signs of a healthy lawn. With proper watering habits you can be sure to enjoy a lush, vibrant yard, and the right sprinklers are the key to your success. With such a wide range of available models, it's important to know which one is ideal for your particular lawn. You'll want to consider a number of factors when choosing a new sprinkler. It may even be necessary to utilize more than one type to ensure that your yard is sufficiently covered. Keeping your lawn healthy and green enhances the look of your home, so consider the following questions as you shop to ensure you're getting maximum watering performance:
• How large is the area that needs to be watered?
• How frequently should you water?
• What type of sprinkler will work best for your yard?
• What is the climate like in your region?
• How can you most effectively water hard-to-reach areas, like gardens?
Sprinkler Types and Watering Tips
Choosing the right type of sprinkler will go a long way toward ensuring its efficiency. The size of your lawn and the area to be watered will play a large role in determining which sprinkler is best, as will how active you wish to be in the process. If you love working on your lawn and wish to closely monitor it on a daily basis, you'll probably want to choose sprinklers that require a little more time and attention. If you want green grass but don't have the time to look after each section of your lawn, an automatic in-ground irrigation system may be an ideal solution. Regardless of which type of sprinkler you employ, you'll want to keep a few basic watering tips in mind to ensure that you provide enough -- and not too much -- water for your lawn to grow. Types:
Knowing the differences between the many types of sprinklers available will help you choose the best fit for your lawn. Fixed, or stationary, sprinklers feature several different designs including rings and "salt shakers." They cast water in a single pattern over a fixed area. Oscillating sprinklers have a long tube with numerous openings and move back and forth, emitting a fan-shaped waterfall. Impact sprinklers, sometimes called impulse sprinklers, rotate in a circle and squirt out a single jet of water, making a distinctive clicking sound as they do. Rotating sprinklers feature two or more arms and spin to disperse water in a complete circle. Sprinkler hoses lie along the ground and squirt water from tiny holes to cover a long, rectangular area. Traveling sprinklers often look like little tractors and move through your yard in a preset pattern, dragging the hose behind them. Finally, in-ground sprinkler systems are installed into the lawn and pop up at a designated time, usually cycling their way through the yard to provide complete coverage. The chart below summarizes some of the benefits of each type:
||• Fast and precise watering
• Water hard-to-reach areas
• Multiple types
|• Small areas
• Adjustable pattern
• Less likely to clog
• Lower water pressure and flow rate
|• Large areas
• Front lawns
||• Automatic operation
• Complete coverage
• Can be programmed by zones
|• Front, back and sides of house
||• Gentle watering
• Even coverage
• Rectangular or square pattern
|• Medium- and large-sized areas
• Front and backyards
• Newly seeded areas
||• May feature adjustable jets and bases
• Even distribution
• Work quickly
|• Medium-sized areas
• Front, back and sides of house
||• Low flow rate
• Localized watering
|• Long strips of lawn
||• Cover a wide area
• Save time
• Multiple patterns available
• Look for automatic shutoff valve
|• Oddly shaped yards
• Front, back and sides of house
• Hilly, uneven areas
While having the right sprinkler will certainly make watering your lawn much easier, there are other steps you'll need to take to ensure maximum effectiveness. Lawns and gardens require much more water when the weather is sunny than they do when it's cloudy, so make sure you're using your sprinklers more frequently on hot summer days. Because grass is composed primarily of water, it is particularly vulnerable in high-heat, low-water conditions. In addition to weather, the type of soil you have will dictate how frequently you need to water. If you're unsure of when to water, look for changes in grass and plants as slow or arrested growth and browning will give you an indication that more moisture is needed. Water your lawn early in the morning so water doesn't evaporate as quickly as it does during the hotter parts of the day and to give grass sufficient time to dry before nightfall. Constant wetness can lead to disease and insect infestation.
• Intermittent watering over several hours provides thorough root penetration
• Sandy soil needs short, frequent periods of water
• Clay soil requires less watering than sandy soil
• Loam soil holds water longer than sandy soil but not as long as clay
• Watering is unnecessary during periods of heavy rain
• Allow soil to dry between waterings
A common feature of in-ground sprinkler systems, automatic timers allow you to choose when you want sprinklers to go on or off, so you can start watering early in the morning without having to crawl out of bed to turn them on. Flow Timer:
Sprinklers with this feature monitor the amount of water they emit and let you calibrate it to a specific setting. This will allow you to customize the amount of water you're using to ensure thorough soaking on different parts of your lawn. Automatic Shutoff Valve:
A good feature to have in traveling sprinklers, these valves automatically cut off the water supply once the sprinkler has completed its pattern to ensure that water is not wasted and your lawn doesn't get waterlogged.