Lawn Watering Infoline - November 5
Welcome to the lawn watering infoline. We have now received rainfall in sufficient amounts, temperatures have dropped, therefore irrigation should no longer be necessary. Local plants are going into dormancy, thus their water needs are lowering, so this will be our last recording for the year. Our recommendation is if you believe you need to water; first test your soil with a moisture meter to determine if watering is necessary.
Additionally, if you had a Rain Shut-off Device on your sprinkler system, it would have shut off your system with the rain we received. A Rain Shut-off Device is a relatively inexpensive way to save water, along with the time it takes to turn your system off and back on.
Also, during the winter months, if you see sprinklers running, call us at 541.774.2435 with the address and we will contact the property owner regarding the situation.
Fall is the perfect time to fertilize your lawn. It is always best to use a slow release fertilizer to feed turf grass. Apply enough fertilizer to give the lawn at least one pound of actual nitrogen, the first number of the fertilizer formula on the fertilizer bag. If you need help understanding how much to apply, ask your local nursery or call us at 541.774.2435.
Now is also the time to winterize your sprinkler system. The 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 www.medfordwater.org and click on the “Sprinkle Smart” link on the left hand side or call us at 541.774.2435 to request a copy to be mailed to you.
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 web site at www.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.
As a reminder, if you are a Medford Water Commission customer, we offer a Free Sprinkler Survey in which we provide an overall assessment of your sprinkler system and make recommendations for any improvements. Call 541-774-2435 to set up an appointment.
For a guide to help you schedule your sprinkling, you can download our Sample Lawn Watering Schedule or call 541-774-2435 to have a copy mailed to you.
There is a wealth of information on conservation and landscaping on the website, which we hope you will find helpful. If you have any questions or comments, or would like more information, email us or call 541-774-2435.
We hope you find this information to be helpful. If you have any questions or comments, or would like more information, call 541-774-2435.
Thank you for being mindful of your water use. Using these tips, we hope you’ll find that you can maintain a beautiful, healthy landscape while using water wisely.