As most irrigation professionals know, sometimes there’s a tricky situation or problem that needs to be solved. The plants need to be watered, no matter what condition they’re in—how can you overcome soil type issues, challenging hills or pressure problems? Read on to find out how you can solve some of the most common tricky problems irrigation pros encounter.
When watering slopes or hills, water can puddle around the sprinkler heads at the bottom of the hill. This creates problems like muddy or flooded areas and excess runoff. Check valves help to contain unpressurized water within the lateral lines, reducing runoff. Check valves can be found in drip irrigation or installed on sprinkler systems.
Another option is the irrigation controller “cycle and soak” feature available on some controllers to apply water for the cycle period, then pause to allow it to soak in before running the rest of the zone schedule.
Soil is composed of minerals like sand, silt and clay. Different combinations of these minerals create different types of soil, which each have different water-holding capabilities and absorb water at different rates. Knowing what’s in your soil will help you determine how much to water and how often. Get a soil test so you know its water intake, retention and drainage abilities.
Compacted soil might not be a problem on the whole lawn—but if there are spots with compacted soil, it’s easy to spot. This can cause runoff because the water can’t fully soak into the soil. Install a controller with a cycle and soak option for multiple short runtimes, giving the water the opportunity to seep into the soil before more is applied. You can also try rotary nozzles, which apply water at a lower rate.
High pressure can cause sprinklers to mist, but low pressure might not even pop the sprinkler heads up to water at all. High pressure can be controlled with pressure regulators. Learn more about irrigation pressure problems in this blog.
What’s the trickiest problem you’ve seen? How did you solve it? Share in the comments below!