Many people in the US have lawn irrigation systems on their property. Some are simple off-the-shelf systems from the local gardening store. But many people also hire experienced lawncare professionals for customized irrigation systems. However, if you do not properly winterize your irrigation system, you’ll come across some unexpected problems.
By winterize, we mean ensuring that the cold does not damage your irrigation system. A good lawncare company like All American Turf Beauty will winterize your system after the last Fall lawncare activities. However, not winterizing properly may prove costly when the snow melts.
Why You Must Winterize Your Irrigation System
Good lawn irrigation systems are always free flowing. Winterizing makes sure that this flow resumes after the long and cold Midwest winter. It is a meticulous process and will require your full attention.
If you have hired a capable lawn care company, they’ll ensure that there are no leaks in the system. If you are operating a store-bought irrigation setup, you must do this check yourself. To winterize properly, check your irrigation pipes and sprinklers before the first snow. The best time to winterize is right after your Fall lawn care activities during the last days of October.
All American Turf Beauty always completes these processes after their Fall lawn care procedures. However, many people in Iowa leave their irrigation systems as-is during the winter.
Winterize Your Lawn First
Before you winterize your irrigation system, you must protect your lawn properly. This will also help you identify any problems in your lawn irrigation systems.
If you have hired a professional lawn care company, they winterize by the October. The turf bed is first aerated, then heavily fertilized. Some lawncare professionals prefer using organic mulch. All American Turf Beauty uses their own slow-release nitrogen fertilizer, as well as organic mulch.
After the soil has received enough nutrition, the lawn gets a final makeover. It is also important to clear any patches of missing or dead grass for laying a new seed bed. If your lawn had any turf pests or weed infestation, it needs to be treated with the right chemicals.
When you inspect your lawn before winter, check for any extra damp patches. Brown colored grass, or muddy areas are also indications that your irrigation system is leaking. Lawncare professionals can instantly identify these areas as water-logged.
Also, when you winterize your lawn, make sure that you leave the turf bed completely dry. If your turf bed is wet during the winter, it will freeze. This will kill any live roots or seeds that you planted in Fall.
What Lawncare Professionals Suggest
It is always best to hire a capable lawn care company to winterize your lawn and irrigation system. As professionals, they have an excellent idea about the possible problems. Your lawn irrigation systems have a complex underground piping network. Lawncare professionals know how these pipes are laid out, and how to clear them before winter.
It is usually easier to clean automated irrigation systems compared to above-ground systems. Irrigation solutions from All American Turf Beauty for example, have an automated timer valve. This valve prevents back-flow and keeps the water-line clear when the sprinklers aren’t active.
It is also vital to check this underground piping network for leaks. If there is any water collecting under your top-soil, it will freeze during the winter. This will permanently damage your turf bed.
Another critical factor to winterize your irrigation system is ensuring that the nozzles are clean and dry. The sprinkler nozzles are always open to dust and soil. In places like Iowa, they will get covered under heavy snow. This kind of regular wear and tear will severely damage your sprinkler nozzles.
The Best Care for Your Lawn Irrigation System
It is always best to look for lawncare professionals to install or maintain irrigation systems.
To winterize your irrigation system, you will need to put in a lot of effort. Since most of these store-bought systems are above-ground, they will face more damage from the cold. Start by insulating the pipes. You can buy a special insulating foam for this. Many people use plastic bags or insulating tapes. But these are usually not as effective as the foam.
However, here is a checklist by irrigation experts and lawncare professionals from All American Turf Beauty to guide you –
- Stop watering your lawn by the end of October after your final Fall lawncare procedures
- Use a powerful air-pump to clear out ant residual water left in your lawn irrigation systems
- If you have an above-ground irrigation system don’t leave your pipes exposed over winter
- Remove all the sprinkler nozzles for winter
- If you winterize after snowfall begins, be careful while shoveling near irrigation lines
- Make sure you winterize your irrigation system every year