It is estimated that 80% of landscape problems result from improper irrigation. Examples of improper irrigation are uneven distribution uniformity, improperly working heads, improper watering times, malfunctioning valves, cracks and leaks in the lines and mismatched heads.
Some of the most common distribution errors occur in areas with slopes. Water will tend to “sheet” off the slope once the ground experiences initial saturation. The key to success in these areas is to implement a cycle-soak methodology. Further explained, this consists of running multiple shorter watering cycles with breaks in between in order to allow the water to soak in before the runoff occurs. This allows the water to properly penetrate to the root zones and aids in the proper establishment of plant material on slopes.
Mismatched heads and improper coverage are also common problems yet have a very simple solution. The issues that often occur with mismatched heads are poor coverage and poor water pressure down the line (either too high or too low). Poor coverage results in turf “hot spots” and dead and declining plants in planter beds, costing properties money due to overwatering. Added watering time is often added to these areas to overcompensate and this is not a cost-effective strategy. Pressure issues create another set of problems. High pressure issues result in “misting”, meaning up to 60% of the water never reaches the desired plant material or root zone. Conversely, low pressure has the opposite effect, not pushing out enough water to reach the areas in which they are intended. Matching irrigation heads of the same manufacturer and style (i.e. popups, rotors, drip) create consistency in coverage and pressure throughout the system, getting proper amounts of water to the root zone and promoting healthy plant material.
These are a couple but very important reasons why your irrigation system is so important to be constantly monitored by a certified irrigation technician. It is the number one reason for success or failure on any landscape project.