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Closeup of sprinklers spraying on grass

Sprinkler irrigation tips

The amount of water needed to maintain your lawn depends on the type of grass and sprinkler system you have.

Use the cycle and soak irrigation method to help penetrate our hard desert soil and keep your yard healthy.

When to water

May through October - Water between midnight and sunrise to minimize the amount of water lost to evaporation.

November through April - Water during the warmer part of the day to prevent freeze.

Testing your system

The efficiency of your sprinkler heads and irrigation system can be determined with the "six-can test."

  1. Scatter empty soup cans of equal size in various locations on your lawn.
  2. Run your irrigation system for 10 minutes.
  3. Combine contents of all six cans into one.
  4. Insert a ruler and measure the depth of the water. Water depth indicates the rainfall equivalent in inches per hour.

Your irrigation system needs to be maintained just like any other system you own. You change the oil in your car, you change the battery in your smoke alarm, so at least once a year make sure you take a good look at your irrigation system to keep it working properly.

Other tips

  • Remove one minute from your watering time to reduce the amount of water used by 25 percent.
  • Run rotating sprinklers (multi-stream rotor irrigation) about three times longer each cycle than pop-up sprinklers to make up for their lower precipitation rate.
  • Monitor how many minutes you can run your sprinklers before water starts to run off your property. Stop the run cycle at that point and allow the water to fully absorb before running another cycle.
  • Give warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda, one-third less water.
  • Avoid landscape watering on windy or rainy days.
  • Water grass on a separate schedule from plants, trees, and shrubs.
  • Check your irrigation system weekly in the summer and monthly in the winter for any needed repairs.
  • Check your sprinkler system for malfunctions after every mow.
  • Readjust sprinkler heads for better direction or install variable arc nozzles.
  • Replace your irrigation clock with a smart clock.