The Ultimate Home Garden Sprinkler Guide
Summer has finally arrived! You’ve got your lawn seeded, your flowers planted, and your vegetable garden in the ground. But you’re not planning on using your hose to water every day, right? Proper sprinkler choice and irrigation technique can easily make the biggest difference between a boom or bust garden. Start with our guide below to learn everything you need to know about sprinklers.
Manual or Automatic Watering?
Automatic sprinklers with underground water lines are really the best option for large spaces and open lawns. The pros to automatic watering are obvious: these sprinklers deliver consistent water on an automatic schedule without much human interference. The con is that installing the system requires potentially a lot of digging.
With underground systems, the water is distributed through underground PVC pipes, so installing the system will require trenches to be dug all across your yard. You can either do the installation yourself or book the services of a professional company ahead of time. Be forewarned: spring and early summer are typically the busiest season for this type of contractor. Root systems from trees and large bushes must be accounted for too, as the roots can eventually grow into and destroy any underground systems.
Above-ground sprinkler systems require a little less planning and can be automated through the use of timers. They also allow for more delivery options than just pop-up sprinkler heads. Depending on your yard, several different types of sprinkler heads might actually be required.
Choosing the Right Type of Sprinkler
If you’re simply watering an expanse of lawn, an overhead spray sprinkler is the way to go. This type of sprinkler spreads the water over a large area evenly and steadily, which allows the ground to absorb the water deeply and reach the roots of the grass.
Trees and bushes, however, will benefit most from drip sprinklers. They allow you to target individual plants and meter out the exact amount of water those plants may require to thrive. Another perk to drip irrigation is that little water is lost to runoff or irrigation.
When using either of these types of sprinklers, always make sure to keep the heads clean and clear of debris! The biggest con to drip sprinklers is that the small spouts can get clogged, which will limit or stop the flow of water. Another watering option is a soaker hose, which are best for vegetable gardens. They evenly saturate the ground with moisture over a large area and help prevent mold or fungus from growing on the leaves.
With Sprinklers, Timing Is Everything!
If you choose to irrigate with above-ground sprinklers, you still have a lot of easy options for automating your system. Water timers are readily available at any home improvement store and many of them are equipped with moisture sensors that detect rain and turn off the flow.
Be sure to prevent molds and fungus from growing by watering when the plants and foliage will be exposed to enough air and sun to dry. Oftentimes, that means watering in the morning — but when the weather is very hot and dry, your plants may benefit from late afternoon or early evening instead.
Know Your Water Volume
Learn what your lawn and garden require for water. Not only is over-watering wasteful, but it’s also a very easy way to damage or kill a plant. Once the soil is too waterlogged, it’s very difficult to change the soil conditions. You should learn about each of your plant’s water needs and keep an eye on them throughout the season. Hotter temps mean more evaporation, which will require more watering to achieve the same results.
Time to Get Out There and Garden!
Once you know what your yard requires, get those sprinklers up and running. It will make the difference between a summer spent holding a hose and a summer spent holding a glass of lemonade while you admire your yard. Whatever methods you choose, make sure you’ve got an old fashioned lawn sprinkler around for the kids. Even with all the new gadgetry, some things are best left untouched!
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