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Athletic Field Irrigation Startup Checklist and Best Practices

April 24, 2018 | Categories: ,
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The harsh environmental conditions of summer plus the heavy traffic from play will wreak havoc on a natural grass surface. An irrigation system is ideal for conditioning the turf to handle and recover from these stressors.

Make sure your irrigation system is functioning correctly for the season ahead with this startup checklist.

Irrigation Startup Checklist

Sprinkler Head

  • Does it have a nozzle and is it the correct one?
  • Is it turning?
  • Is it the correct height and pitch?
  • Does anything block the spray?
  • What is the condition of the filter screen?

Valves

  • Can they open and close manually or electronically (automatic systems)?
  • Have all parts and connections been checked for leaks?
  • Is the water flowing properly?

Controller

  • Are the start and run times and water days set correctly?
  • Does the controller function in automatic and manual mode?
  • Is the water sensor properly adjusted and working?
The photo shows a 2-inch pop-up irrigation head. The head is not reaching above the turf, providing poor distribution. Photo courtesy of J&D Turf.

Irrigation Best Practices

Follow these irrigation best practices so your field is ready for every game and practice.

  • To lessen damage to the turf, always apply a light irrigation cycle immediately after a practice or game.   
  • Don’t cut back on irrigating during the cooler summer months as isolated dry areas can occur. Keep watching all season and adjust as necessary.
  • Graying turf needs water ASAP. Turf that is yellow will need water and a longer period of time to bounce back to an acceptable color.
  • Make sure the irrigation heads can reach above the turf canopy to provide better distribution. A 4-inch pop-up irrigation head may distribute water better than the 2-inch pop-up head.