Lawn Watering Infoline - November 14, 2018
Hello and welcome to the Lawn Watering Infoline. Today is Wednesday November 14th. In an effort to help save water, mention this Infoline to your friends and neighbors, especially if they use an automatic sprinkler system to water their landscape.
Due to current and forecasted weather conditions, supplemental irrigation this week will not be necessary for established landscapes. At this time, we recommend that you shut off your sprinkler system for the winter. If you have any newly planted material, we recommend continuing to water the new plants with a hose.
Now is the time to winterize your sprinkler system. Medford Water Commission offers Winterizing Your Sprinkler System, an overall guide to preparing your sprinkler system for the cold weather ahead. Visit our website at medfordwater.org and click on the “Sprinkle Smart” link on the left-hand side or call us at 541.774.2436 to have a copy mailed to you.
The following are some basic steps to help you winterize your sprinklers:
First, shut off the water source to your system. If you don’t have a shut-off valve to isolate your irrigation system from the household water supply, consider adding one. The valve of a backflow prevention device should not be used as the main shutoff, since these valves should be left partially open when winterizing so that they can drain.
Second, attempt to remove as much water as possible from your sprinklers. Pull and prop the risers up, which can be done with a special hold-up tool or you can wrap a rubber band around the riser. Another way is to briefly remove the cap and riser from the highest and lowest sprinklers in each irrigation zone to help water drain out. If your property is sloped, you may have sprinklers with check valves in them, which require extra measures to help them drain. Instructions to assist you with this are on our website at medfordwater.org.
Installing drains at low points can also be helpful. However, if you do so, consider selecting manual drains, rather than automatic drains. That way, you control when the system is drained, rather than it occurring after every irrigation cycle.
In addition, it is a good idea to protect any valves from freezing by insulating them, especially if they are above ground. Bubble wrap is good material to use.
Finally, some irrigation experts suggest disconnecting the common wire to the valves at the controller as part of a winterizing program. This will assure that the irrigation system cannot activate accidentally, and it is easy to reconnect in the spring.
While taking these actions may not provide complete protection from freezing, they are worthwhile precautions to lessen the potential for freeze damage. You may also wish to contact an irrigation professional about any winterizing services they may offer.
We hope you find this information to be helpful. If you have any questions or comments or would like more information, visit our website at medfordwater.org or call 541.774.2436.