Reticulation Maintenance & Design
As Aussie homeowners with any size lawn or garden, we usually worry about our bit of turf or plants not getting enough water needed for survival throughout the hotter months. This case can even become worse in the summer when the rain dries up and the soil gets dry. During periods like this when the overall care and maintenance of our lawn and gardens come into focus, a good reticulation system is the answer!
WHY DESIGN MATTERS.
Regardless of the season, having a well-designed and maintained reticulation system installed can give you peace of mind regarding the efficient supply of water to your turf and plants. The reticulation system is a network that ensures that your turf and plants are supplied with all the water and hydration needed to grow and flourish.
Generally, a properly-installed and good quality reticulation system will work efficiently and shouldn’t need a lot of tinkering and maintenance. You only need to perform routine maintenance once in a while to spot and fix issues. Otherwise, the reticulation can be trusted and left to work on its own.
How Do You Maintain Your Reticulation System?
1. Detached or broken sprinkler head
One of the frequent incidences is the accidental mowing of the sprinkler head. This damage is obvious and definitely a reason why we need to monitor our reticulation systems. Depending on the extent of damage, you may be able to just replace the head, or if it’s a bit worse, the riser as well. To prevent this, make sure the height of the sprinkler head when it’s retracted is reasonable to miss being caught in the mower blades or, consider getting some surrounds to protect them if you think it’s going to be an ongoing issue.
2. Pooling water around the reticulation heads
Sometimes, you just notice water around the heads even when the system is turned off. In fact, you may not notice any obvious damage or cracks on the system. This is generally a sign of a faulty, solenoid. Make sure you have (or make) a map of where these are around your property, it makes life a lot easier. Fairly simple to replace, usually the hard part is finding them!
3. Wet and muddy parts on your lawn
If you frequently notice an extremely wet or muddy area somewhere farther from the sprinkler head, it could be a sign of pipe break underground. Needless to say, it’s a good idea to get onto this straight away to prevent the water from wasting and to ensure that your grass is not going to rot. A bit of a scratch with your shovel in the flooded area should locate the leak soon enough. Once found, be sure to isolate the water supply to the reticulation and switch the controller to “off” if you can’t get it sorted immediately (depending on how big the leak is, if it’s only a small one you may choose to let it run if it’s set to the next day until you can get to the shop).
4. Excess water on driveways and sidewalks
This issue is usually linked to poor design or the retic layout or it may just be the wrong head for that particular area. Have a look to see if it can be adjusted, if not, what shape spray does it need for that area? A quarter, half, three quarter, or full? This problem can usually be fixed fairly easily as long as it’s not a case of a poorly designed landscape area with difficult edges that really can’t be missed by the retic no matter what spray you had there!
5. Brown spots on your turf
This could mean that no water may be reaching certain areas of your lawn because a sprinkler may have stopped working. It could be blocked or the pipe may be damaged. In other cases, it’s because the sprinklers are not properly placed on the lawn or is under-pressured. This is where careful planning really does set apart a well-reticulated area so that every part of your lawn can receive an adequate amount of water.
BONUS: Best Practice things to remember & check
- The general rule is turning off your reticulation in May/June sometime and then make sure when you turn it back on in September/October, ready for the hotter Spring and Summer months, that the reticulation is working effectively.
- Make sure the popup sprays aren’t blocked or, if you’re using MP rotors, making sure that all the heads are spraying.
- Also, check that no dirt has gotten in or ants have laid eggs or are inside small garden micro sprays as they block really easily.
- Some older controllers need their 9V battery changed every 6-9 months to hold the program. But some newer controllers have a built-in lithium battery which doesn’t need changing.
A well-designed and maintained reticulation system can save you the headache of forever trying to supply your lawn and garden with enough water efficiently and consistently. Once set up, a quality, well set-out reticulation system will operate with little or no supervision and supply water to all parts of the lawn. However, if you encounter any of the above-mentioned issues with your system, make sure you get onto them asap and don’t forget to sing out if you need a hand.
What Do We Use?
The sprinklers that we use can save you up to 30% of your water usage while still keeping your lawn well reticulated. The MP Rotator is a mighty little beast that features unique, multi-trajectory rotating streams that deliver water at a steady rate. Seriously worth considering if you’re D.I.Y.’ing it.
Looking for Turf for your new place, or to create a new area? Why not check out True Blue Turf who are local to the Busselton area?