TROUBLESHOOTING SPRINKLER SYSTEM PROBLEMS

Proper lawn watering is the most important aspect of organic lawn and tree care, yet lawn watering is the biggest frustration that homeowners face in Colorado.

99% of lawn care problems are watering related. Improper lawn watering causes lawn funguses, kills beneficial microbial activity, kills soils and causes shallow growing grass roots. These common lawn care problems are all caused by improper lawn watering techniques and many lawn problems are caused by either under watering, over watering, too frequent of watering, and / or poor sprinkler coverage. Sometimes one lawn will have sections that are over watered and other sections that are under watered.

All the lawn watering problems can be fixed by closely following the lawn watering technique called 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 lawn watering. Organo-Lawn invented this lawn watering technique specifically for lawn in Boulder and Fort Collins Colorado, but this technique is universal worldwide.


How to Measure Your Sprinkler System's Water Output

Inches of Water? To determine how much water your sprinkler system dispenses use a rain gauge or a flat bottomed and flat sided container like a Tupperware dish and place it in your lawn. Run your sprinklers for 30 minutes then measure the water depth. If there is 1/2 inch of water in 30 minutes you need to water 3 days per week for 30 minutes to obtain 1.5 inches of water per week. Repeat this process in every section of your Colorado lawn. Make sure to place a rain gauge in both the lawn's green spots and the lawn's brown spots.

Note: It is best to use more than one rain gauges per sprinkler zone, because sprinkler coverage may vary depending on the design of the sprinkler system.

Troubleshooting Sprinklers


How Much To Water A Colorado Lawn Per Week To Keep It Green

Full Sun (South Facing Aspects)

When Daytime Temps are Greater than 85 degrees F
2.1 inches of water per week
(7/10th of an inch of water 3 times a week)


When Daytime Temps are Between 70-85 degrees F
1.4 inches per week
(7/10th of an inch of water 2 times a week)


When Daytime Temps are Less than 70 degrees F
7/10th of an inch of water per week
(7/10th of an inch of water 1 time a week)

Normal Facing (East / West Facing)

When Daytime Temps are Greater than 85 degrees F
1.5 inches of water per week
(1/2 of an inch of water 3 times a week)


When Daytime Temps are Between 70-85 degrees F
1 inch per week
(1/2 of an inch of water 2 times a week)


When Daytime Temps are Less than 70 degrees F
1/2 of an inch of water per week
(1/2 of an inch of water 1 time a week)

Full Shade (North Facing or Full Shade)

When Daytime Temps are Greater than 85 degrees F
1 inch of water per week
(1/3 of an inch of water 3 times a week)


When Daytime Temps are Between 70-85 degrees F
.66 inches per week
(1/3 of an inch of water 2 times a week)


When Daytime Temps are Less than 70 degrees F
.33 inches of water per week
(1/3 of an inch of water 1 time a week)


How Deep and Infrequent Lawn Watering Will Promote Deep Digging Roots

How to Identify Poor Sprinkler Coverage

Since 99% of brown spots in a lawn are watering related, the first step in diagnosing the problem is to determine if the brown spot is receiving adequate water. We always like to eliminate poor sprinkler coverage and improper watering before we conclude the issue is a lawn fungus. Step one is to measure the water output of your sprinkler system using rain gauges.

To do this your will need two identical rain gauges or two exactly same sized flat bottomed and flat sided dishes (Tupperware dishes). Put one of the dishes in the brown spot and another flat bottomed and the other dish in a green spot of the lawn. Run the sprinklers. After the sprinkler cycle is completed you will probably notice that there is a difference between the amounts of water in the green area dish versus the brown area dish. This is because the sprinkler coverage is not as good in the brown areas as it is in the green areas. Obviously the fix to this problem is to adjust the sprinkler head coverage.


If you have difficulty diagnosing what is causing the brown spots in your Boulder or Fort Collins area lawn please contact Organo-Lawn and schedule a sprinkler system audit with one of our lawn care experts.