In the old days the only kind of lawn sprinkler that one saw the the oscillating sprinkler. That’s the one that is attached to the garden hose that sends fan shaped arcs of water back and forth, back and forth.
Since they have to be physically moved from area to area, homeowners that use them are at times humorously referred to as hose-draggers. In many areas, lawn care with sprinklers is the only way to keep a lawn alive during those summer droughts
Different grass species can have an effect on how much watering needs to be done. For example, St. Augustine and Bermuda grass have a healthy appetite for the wet stuff, but species such as Buffalo grass are slow growing but can go for sustained periods without watering or rain and still remain healthy.
Types of Lawn Sprinklers
There are two broad categories of lawn sprinklers, the portable ones that are favored by the hose-draggers, and then the hard-piped sprinkler systems that are permanently installed. How long should a sprinkler sprinkle for adequate coverage?
Try this out. Set an empty tuna fish can on the lawn where water delivery is average. Start a stopwatch. Make note of the time that has passed when the can is full of water. This is the amount of time to run your sprinkler.
Portable Lawn Sprinklers
First, there is the oscillating sprinkler, as mentioned earlier. This one is ideal for rectangular shaped lawn areas since that is the kind of water distribution pattern it produces. It delivers the highest coverage with respect to time of all the portable types. It has been rated at watering up to four thousand square feet.
Next we have the whirling sprinkler, sometimes known as the rotary model. It has three short arms which are slightly bent. The water pressure causes the arms to spin around their central axis and sling water in a circular pattern. This makes it an excellent choice for lawns with rounded or circular edges. This sprinkler can be adjusted from a heavy delivery to a light mist.
The impulse type of sprinkler sends water out in pulses at intervals while the sprinkler head rotates a predetermined number of degrees. It is recognized by the “pfft, pfft” noise that it makes. It is good for lawns that want a slow, steady delivery, such as a recently sodded lot. The impulse sprinkler can be a spike model or one that simply sits on the lawn. A spike is preferable with high water pressure.
Finally, the walking sprinkler is great for large lawns because it reduces the hose dragging. This model is self propelled and resembles nothing so much as a little model tractor. It is equipped with arms similar to the ones on rotary model except it typically has only two rather than three.
Hard-Piped Lawn Sprinkler Systems
This is the best choice for ease of use. The system consists of a cluster of buried PVC pipe, a backflow preventer, sprinkler heads, and a timer. The PVC pipe delivers the water, of course.
The backflow preventer is a device that keeps water that has entered the system from draining back into the water supply. The timer allows the homeowner to put the lawn sprinkler system on remote control, perfect for vacations or business trips.
The sprinkler heads themselves come in a variety of types. Bubbler heads are great for flower gardens or very small yards. Pop-up heads are the best for out on the lawn. They only rise up from the ground under water pressure so they can’t be mowed off. Finally, impact heads operate just like the ones described in the above section.