Lawn Irrigation with Columbia Landcare

Having grown up in a small town in TN, the only irrigation system I recall was the portable oscillating sprinkler that my father used for his garden.  It also doubled as a waterpark for my summertime entertainment.  I was pretty awesome at sprinkler hurdling.  If you are like me, you may need to find out what kind of maintenance these systems require.  Mike Hentges, Director of Irrigation for Columbia Landcare, is here to help.
For the purchaser of home with a lawn sprinkler system, there are some things you may not be aware of if you have not had one in the past.  At the beginning and end of the season, there are a couple of routine services that need to be performed on your lawn sprinkler system, or sometimes referred to as an irrigation system.

There are typically two parts to the springtime service…..

1.  Certified Backflow Test

For the vast majority of our customers that use a public water source for their irrigation system, the spring start up includes a backflow prevention device test often referred to as a backflow test. This required test ensures that your system’s backflow device, which is located at the start of your irrigation’s plumbing, is working properly.  The purpose of the backflow prevention device is to protect the public water supply by not allowing water from your lawn sprinkler system to be able to flow back into the public water supply. If the test renders the device as passing, a report will be sent to your water company notifying them that the device is in working order.  Should the device fail the backflow test, repairs on that device will be required.

2.  Irrigation System check

The system check involves a visual inspection of the entire irrigation system.  All of the zones are run to make sure the controller, valves, and all sprinkler heads are working properly and as efficient as possible.  Minor repairs and adjustment are made as part of the system check.  Major repairs that require more time or customer approval will be scheduled for a follow up visit. While this part of the service is not required, it is a good idea to have this annual check up to keep your system running efficiently and to detect any problems that may go unnoticed to the homeowner.


The last service to your system comes in the fall…..

 Winterization of the system

This service involves shutting off the water to your system and blowing all the water out of the lines to prevent potential freezing damage.  With the depth of irrigation equipment, a hard winter can freeze the ground deep enough to cause freezing and cracking of pipes and sprinkler heads. The winterization of your system safeguards against that damage.


Watering tips for your lawn…
  • Don’t water you lawn too much in the spring
  • Too much water in the spring is not necessary and encourages roots to stay shallow when they should be using the spring to develop a deep root system in preparation for summer.
  • Early morning is the best time to water your lawn
    • The lack of sun and wind in the early morning (just before sunrise) gives  a better chance for the water you are adding to your lawn to be absorbed into the soil rather than being taken up into the air.  Late evening watering offers the same benefit, but encourages diseases that feast on wet turf and plant blades through the dark hours of night.  Also avoid midday watering if possible.
  • Understand that water is one aspect to a healthy lawn
    • While water does play an important role in the health of your lawn, it is not the only thing.  The soil your lawn is growing in is often overlooked but plays a huge role in the health of your lawn. Improving soil structure and fertility is an important factor. This can be done through lawn applications and other cultural practices.   Proper mowing practices also play a big role in keeping your lawn healthy and looking nice.


You can learn more about Columbia Landcare by visiting 

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