We have tested and adjusted many of our clients systems this spring, I have written blogs on this before but thought I would highlight a few adjustment points for those that maintain their own systems.
Typically the sprinkler heads will become either buried over the winter or the grass will grow over them and block the risers from coming up. The following is a quick list of tasks for adjusting and fine tuning your system.
Sprinkler head body adjustment
- Check to make sure that the sprinklers are all level and set just below mower height. Lawn sprinklers should be set outside the lawn edge so that the mower wheels and blades will not damage the head.
- If the head is not level you will need to completely dig out the entire head using a shovel so that you dig to the bottom of the head loosening enough dirt so that the head itself can be adjusted. After adjustment, compact the dirt around the head as firmly as possible so that it won't move after it is turned on.
- If you have pop up heads in the grass there's a good chance they are grown over with grass. Use a round point shovel or knife to dig around the head removing the grass so that the entire head is exposed. At this point you can determine whether the head needs to be dug out and re-set.
- Shrub spray heads that pop up and have fixed sprays (Rain Bird 1804 and Hunter Pro Spray, better known as shrub spray heads) have fixed nozzles with a very small set screw in the middle. Some are adjustable called (VAN, for Variable Adjustable Nozzle indicated on the top of the nozzle). Others are labeled with numbers according to their distance of spray and direction of throw; for example: 15H is a 15 foot throw at a half spray, 8Q is a 8 foot throw at a quarter spray and so on. To adjust VAN nozzles for direction hold the top rim of the nozzle and turn the adjuster just underneath. To adjust the length of throw use a very small screw driver to turn either open or close the set screw. Make sure that you don't screw it down too tight as it will go thru the head and break the nozzle. If the nozzle is not properly adjusting, throw it away and buy a new one.
- Look at the nozzle to see if it is spraying properly. Many times grass or plant roots will get into the nozzle or dirt can clog the nozzle. When you unscrew the nozzle, there is a little screen inside that usually will clear by blowing it out. This should remedy the spray pattern but if not these nozzles will need to be replaced. A typical system will need to have a few of these nozzles replaced every year.
- Lawn rotors- Body adjustment is about the same for lawn rotors, nozzle and spray pattern is entirely different.
The 2 main style of rotors that we use are mainly Hunter PGP, in my opinion (the best sprinkler you can buy) or Rain Bird 3500 or 5000, all are good heads. Both nozzles utilize a key to adjust although you can use a screwdriver and allen wrench on both. These heads are fixed to one direction and adjust to the other side. After you do it a few times you get the feel for how it works. As for the distance of water throw there is a small set screw or allen head screw in the top of the inserted nozzle that can be adjusted by using the key for the Hunter or small screw driver with the Rain Bird.
Those are just a few tips for adjusting your heads. Doing this service every year will save water and money over the long haul. If you need help give us a call!