There Is No Standard Setting for Irrigation Systems

Mark Peterson

No two landscapes are alike and neither are the in-ground sprinklers that serve them. Before you just turn yours on and forget it, consider what it’s watering and where.

Every summer, as soon as the hot, dry weather settles in I start getting questions about irrigation systems and how long they should run. Unfortunately, the answer to that question is far from simple.

You see, no two landscapes are alike and neither are the irrigation systems that serve them. I would have to determine a multitude of unique variables for each landscape to calculate how long each system should run.

Instead, I can make a general recommendation for run times using the experience and expertise of our conservation consultants. They base their recommendations on broad assumptions of a typical irrigation system and landscape. These include spray head type, soil, plants and precipitation rate.

Using these assumptions, I can confidently recommend the following:

 

In full sun turf
Pop-up sprays 20 minutes per week
Pop-up rotors 35 minutes per week
Multi-stream rotors 60 minutes per week

 

In partial shade turf
Pop-up sprays 15 minutes per week
Pop-up rotors 25 minutes per week
Multi-stream rotors 40 minutes per week

 

In full sun beds
Pop-up sprays 18 minutes per week
Multi-stream rotors 45 minutes per week

 

In partial shade beds
Pop-up sprays 12 minutes per week
Multi-stream rotors 35 minutes per week

 

Drip irrigation
18 x 18 spacing with .6 gallon per hour emitter (3/4”) 90 minutes per every two weeks
12 x 12 spacing with .9 gallon per hour emitter (3/4”) 35 minutes per every two weeks

 

Always remember to use your Seasonal Adjust for different seasons. The aforementioned times are for late June through September. You’ll notice that run times in fall, spring and winter are considerably less.

 

June, July, August, September 100%
October, May 80%
March, April, November 60%
October, May 10%

 

Above all, remember that irrigation systems may be convenient, but they are not efficient. They must be checked monthly for any malfunctions.

If you’re ready to simplify and make the most of your watering — and lower your summer water bill — our Residential Irrigation Design Rebate can help you eliminate or retrofit your inefficient, highly consumptive irrigation system.

Start typing and press Enter to search