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Best Practices with a Sprinkler System

A sprinkler system makes it easy to ensure your lawn gets the water it needs to thrive. Try these tips to get the best results.

A sprinkler system is a handy way to ensure your lawn gets the water it needs to grow full and lush, without having to stand out there with hose in hand. As with most equipment, there are simple things you can do to help your sprinkler system work better and more efficiently.

Here's how to make the most of your sprinkler system.

Wait before watering. Don't turn on your sprinkler system just because it's been a few days since the last watering. Instead, wait to see signs of drought stress in the grass, like the color turning from green to blue-ish gray, wilting, or footprints remaining visible. Allowing grass to experience a small degree of water stress after you've given it a deep watering actually encourages roots to grow farther down in search of moisture, rather than staying at the surface. As soon as you begin to see signs of stress, water the lawn deeply again.

Water early in the day. Only water when you need to. Run the sprinkler system during pre-dawn hours for most efficient watering, as the lawn will lose less moisture to evaporation from the sun and heat. Avoid night watering, though, as watering after dark will cause grass blades to remain moist overnight, making them more susceptible to fungal diseases.

Get good coverage. To avoid dry spots, sprinkler heads should be positioned so they overlap slightly in their coverage areas. Walk around on your lawn after watering, and make adjustments to the sprinklers if you see that any portions have been missed.

Do a little maintenance. Every so often, observe your sprinklers in action, looking for clogged or leaking heads. Use a slender piece of wire to unclog sprinkler heads. Repair or replace valves if sprinklers are leaking or valve boxes are water-logged. Adjust misdirected heads that are spraying pavement. If you see a fine mist or fog during watering, lower the system pressure.

Be flexible. Reset your watering schedule as needed to adjust to seasonal weather changes. If you live in a drought-prone area, check with the local extension office or water board to find out if there are any restrictions on when and how often you are allowed to water your lawn.

Seed for a lawn that requires less water. When patching bare spots in your lawn, choose Scotts® EZ Seed®. It combines high-performance seed and premium-quality fertilizer with a super-absorbent mulch that holds 6 times its weight in water, helping to keep seeds and soil moist. Putting down a whole new lawn? Consider planting low-maintenance Scotts® Turf Builder® Clover Lawn, which grows deep roots that are able to seek moisture way down on the soil. That means you'll end up watering less than you would with some traditional grass lawns.