Is the control panel set correctly or is it broken?
The main component of an automatic sprinkler system is the control panel. The timer is usually mounted on the wall in the garage, on a porch, or mounted outdoors and enclosed in a weatherproof box.
Before diagnosing a problem or replacing the the control panel, first ensure that it is correctly set and verify that it is powered up. If it is a digital control panel and is getting power, you will see the digital output on the screen (if non digital, you may need to check the power leads with a voltmeter). If it is not getting power, check the plug to make sure it is plugged in to a regular wall outlet. If it appears to be plugged in correctly, check to see that the circuit breaker is enabled for that circuit and that the trip switch on the receptacle is working properly. To help familiarize you with your particular controller, here are some links to some common owners manuals for popular manufacturers:
How much should you water your lawn?
The frequency and duration of the watering schedule depends upon several factors including the amount of shade, the amount of slope, the configuration and arrangement of the sprinkler heads, the nozzle sizes, the type of grass, the season, the water pressure, and several other factors. There is no hard and fast, simple answer. The goal, however, is to achieve a sufficient amount of moisture for the turf, yet making sure to not over water. Two general rules of thumb apply:
- Set your control panel schedule to water infrequently, yet deeply and for a long duration. The goal is to soak the turf as deeply as possible (but not necessarily every day). Generally, in the Lexington, South Carolina Area, each zone should come on 2-3 times a week for about 25 minutes per zone. You are essentially making your grass roots “reach” for water at a deeper and deeper level, making the roots grow longer and improving the overall vigor of the plant.
- Feel for moisture with your finger tips in the soil where the turf is growing. If it is just slightly moist to the touch, you are watering correctly. If it is too wet, adjust the frequency and duration down. If it is too dry, adjust the frequency and duration up.