Question: I have an automatic sprinkling system. What intervals should I plan for watering my landscape and turf, and how long per station?
Answer: The answer is the same with a sprinkler system as it is for hand watering. You need to watch for signs of drought, then turn the sprinkler system “on.” Unless you have a “smart” controller, leave your system in the “Manual” mode unless you’re traveling. That way you can determine when the best time for watering is. If you go away on vacation you can always program it for automatic watering until you return. Again, look for indicator plants that tip you off that things are getting dry. They may be parts of your lawn, or they may be a bed of hydrangeas or other high-water-use plants, but you’re always going to have plants that are the first to wilt. Adjust and re-adjust the stations on your clock until all areas of your landscape dry out at approximately the same time intervals. Some stations may run only 8 or 10 minutes, while others could run for up to an hour. It depends on the plants you’re growing, the heads and their delivery rate, and a lot of other variables. Installing a sprinkling system is not the end of the journey. As with the landscape itself, it’s a moving target that will require frequent tweaking.