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Missed a GardenLine tip?
Pam McKay, general sales manager
|Confessions of Former Hose-Dragger
– Randy discusses the right kind of sprinkler systems for you...
I recently got two email questions from listeners that essentially asked the same question - "Randy, I know you're a big fan of your irrigation system, but for those of us who either don't want to spend the money on an in-ground (or can't, for that matter) what are the best sprinkler heads for our hoses?"
I thought that was a great question, especially since I see people using the wrong kind of sprinklers for our environment. What that simply means, is that for the lawn it's better to use an impact sprinkler vs. and oscillating sprinkler. When it comes to the landscape beds, almost any kind of sprinkler system will do, but for the purposes of this tip sheet, it's actually the drip irrigation hoses that work best.
Although I say "IMPACT" sprinklers work best, this really is a misnomer by today's technological advancements. What I probably should be saying is that the "LOWER TRAJECTORY" sprinkler heads work better than the old-fashioned oscillating sprinklers.
Oscillating sprinklers are the kind that we normally associate with homeowner watering practices. They're the long-framed contraptions that throw the water up in the air and slowly sway to and fro (or back and forth). While it may seem that these are better for the lawn because they can cover such a "broad pattern," the reason they aren't that good for this area is because of evaporation from heat and wind. Oscillating sprinkler heads throw up such a finer mist of water that in our hot and humid temperatures you can end up losing up to 35% of the water due to evaporation. Likewise, if the oscillating sprinkler is used during times of even a 5 MPH wind, evaporation and waste are even greater in some cases.
Impact/Lower Trajectory sprinkler heads are more forceful in their projection of water, thus less evaporation from heat and wind, and they can be guided to not waste water on tree leaves and landscape beds leaves, when that's normally never needed. Impact sprinklers are by definitions what you've probably seen on golf courses or sports fields for years and years. Throwing out at a 35-45 degree angle a thick stream of water that gets "impacted" by an arm and thus creating a wider swath of water for coverage purposes. Impact sprinklers of old also used to have that "tick-tick-tick" pattern going one way, and then a much faster repetitive ticking coming back.
But with those technological advancements that I've spoken to, impact sprinklers are slowly becoming a thing of the past too, as the lower trajectory style sprinkler heads are designed to still throw the water out at that 35-45 degree angle, but in such a way that it can spew out a more even pattern back and forth at the same tempo.
There are times, however and understandably, when an oscillating sprinkler may be the only real choice for an area where an impact sprinkler may have little effect. The best situation I can use to explain this anomaly would be a side strip of turf (between the street and the house; between the fence and the house etc.) where an impact sprinkler may seemingly be watering the wall more than the turf.
I used to be a HOSE-DRAGGER for years. It was never about the cost for me, although I did think I saved money many years ago by dragging the hose and placing the sprinkler heads in the right places. I was such a do-it-yourselfer back then, but now with a 2-year-old and much busier business life, I just don't seem to have the time to afford being that "attentive" to such irrigation needs. Thus, by today's standards I'm a big fan of my own in-ground irrigation system because of the automation and time it saves me, I'm putting my energies and time into more productive things.
And while this may be a tip for another day, it's interesting to note that the right kind of sprinkler heads make all the difference in the way an in-ground system works too, along with easy-to-use operating systems. For basic info sake, I'm a huge fan of Hunter Sprinkler Heads accompanied by a Rain Bird Control System. Again, this can be a tip for another day. And you can read more about the use of such irrigation systems from my favorite irrigation company at this web site link… www.pearcescapes.com
Lastly, with the technological advancements on the market in irrigation, you will also seem some unique ideas such as this on the market. It's so new I don't know that much about it, but on the surface, I think it makes a lot of sense for the old-fashioned hose-dragger in me. noodleheadsprinkler.com
Until next issue, here's to
Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard
exclusively weekend mornings from 8 to noon
on Talkradio 950 KPRC.
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