It has been a long hot 2013 summer. The fungus seemed to come in later than usual due to the persistent late summer rains. Going into the Fall season remember to start watering less frequent. maybe once every 5 to 7 days apart. (refer to the Water Scheduling page for more detail.) The Fall is always a good time to make system up-grades. The landscape is about to go dormant where as any digging will not affect or disturb your turf grass as much. During the winter going into next spring the root zones will have time to grow in and repair themselves best. Come next Spring Your system will be in place and ready for the watering season. This is also a good time of year for a pre-emergent granular weed control application. Help insure the barrier is in place before the weed seeds have a chance to start germinating from any warming temperatures.
The winter is soon to be here, lets talk about system winterizing. We live in a tricky climate here in Washington Co. for possible winter time sprinkler system freeze damage. To the North they have very cold freezing temps. To the South in Las, Vegas they rarely have issues with outside plumbing freeze problems. Here we are in between the two climates. In 1991 St. George saw night time temps drop down to the low single digits four nights in a row. As a result there were many freeze break issues.
To help prevent freeze damage I recommend winterizing your sprinkler system at least from early December through January. There are many things to consider. Most systems in Washington Co. were not installed with winter-time draining in mind. As a result valves and back flow devices are covered over with a blanket to keep the cold air out! Will this be good enough? Most likely if only a mild winter. Above ground back-flow devices must be covered up or they will freeze break! It is with the above ground back-flow devices that I would like to explain what should be done to ensure proper drainage. A isolation (shut-off) or stop & waist valve should be installed up-stream just before the back-flow device. A automatic or manual drain valve need be installed between the isolation valve and the back-flow device if stop & waist is not used. At winterization time 1st shut off the isolation valve 2nd open the pet-cocks on the back-flow to drain the water leaving the larger inline valves on the device open. Thats it! Back flow device protected. Basic rule of thumb here if you have a underground head water inlet shut-off valve, close it then open any and all down-stream valves to drain and help allow air into your system.
Some specific plant material or if your landscape has just recently been installed it will benefit with a little wintertime watering. Basically it’s plants that stay green that do not shed there leaves during wintertime. If your able to hand water these plants during wintertime a little that is a good way without having to run your system. Another issue during winter months with the 1/2″ black poly drip-line on all northern exposures, it frequently will ice up inside and wont allow water to flow through it. Residents some times think there drip system is watering when it is actually clogged with ice! Lastly if you choose to run your system a little during winter months water during middle afternoon, to avoid ice on side-walks.