When should I run my Irrigation system for best results?
Updated: May 4, 2020
First, we should mention that upon ownership of an irrigation system you should become an amature meteorologist and get very familiar with checking the forecast! We'll come back to this.
We recommend only watering just before dawn, approximately 3 am-6 am (start the system sooner if you have a more zones to get through to still be finished up before the time you’ll start drawing water for morning activities)
We recommend this very early morning time frame so that the irrigation system has completed watering before you wake up. This way the system is not pulling water pressure from your morning shower. If the irrigation system runs during the day you will notice a drop in water pressure and chores like laundry or dish washing may be affected.
We do not recommend dusk/evening watering because this can contribute to fungus growth. Fungus, mushrooms, mold spores prefer a dark and wet climate. Irrigating at dusk creates the perfect conditions for these pests to grow literally overnight.
You know how one day, all of a sudden you have a bunch of mushrooms where there was nothing but grass or plants the day before? That’s because the ground is warm, wet and dark and the fungus did in fact appear over night!
Once fungus appears it is EXTREMELY difficult to control. There is no eradicating it. There are products (very expensive products) we can apply to minimize fungus spread, but what initially grows will likely stick around the entire growing season. Fungicide applications will be needed several years in a row to sufficiently suppress the fungus blooms and may still not complete eradicate it.
The take-away: the best way to treat fungus in the yard is to prevent it from showing up.
Solution: Irrigating in the early morning. This allows the grass to take up the water during the day when the sun is out. Throughout the day the foliage and the ground will dry out, not entirely, but enough to not contribute to fungus growth, minimizing the risk of fungus and mold.
Lastly, please be mindful that grass can drown if over watered. Grass needs approximately 1” (1 inch) of water per week. During spring rainstorms mother nature tends to provide that 1” + rather sufficiently for a few weeks in April and May. A rain gauge is ideal so you can monitor and see how much water your lawn has received after each storm. Kirby’s Landscaping has some complimentary rain gauges for our customers, give us a call if you would like one and we’ll happily drop it off.
With a lot of rain, you may find that you want to manually turn the system completely off for a few days. It’s A-OK to walk over to your control panel and set the dial to “off” until some drier weather returns.
Maybe you’re wondering “How long should I run my irrigation system once I turn it back on?”
This is a great question, it shows you really care about your lawn and we appreciate that! The best answer to this is check your weather app often, hone in on your inner meteorologist and check your rain gauge after each rainfall.
Y’all might know Ashley who works here at Kirby’s Landscaping. She personally recommends the “Weather Underground” app because it gives expected rainfall accumulation right on the home page, making it easy to anticipate how much rain is headed our way and when/how much to irrigate.
If the weather is wet; You’ll need less run time per zone to reach that 1” per week goal. If you have an area that stays wet, you’ll want to lower the run time for that zone or maybe turn that zone off completely until it’s dry.
If the weather is dry; You’ll need more run time per zone to reach that 1” per week goal. If you have an area that stays dry, you’ll want to increase the run time for that zone.
Give us a call if you have any questions regarding your irrigation system. Kirby’s Landscaping does everything from Irrigation System Installation, Spring Start-ups, Summer Check, Fall Shutdown/Winterization, and Repairs. We’re happy to be your go-to for all your irrigation needs.