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Preparing your landscape for Spring in Bend, Oregon [Checklist]

Spring is around the corner.  You’re getting excited to fertilize the lawn, rake up any remaining leaves and pruning back the Crab Apples.  Early Spring is also the best time to get your irrigation system in order.  Turning the irrigation system on is important to do before you need water to be applied to your landscape.  

When we turn on irrigation systems, we like to do it way before anyone needs the water.  This allows our clients to be ready and have any repairs completed before the irrigation season begins.  So what can you do to get your system running for a worry-free summer?

What should I do?

Use your ears:  
  • When you turn on the water for the season, listen for the water to start flowing through the pipes and then listen for the water to stop flowing.  
  • Once you don’t hear the “shoosh” of water, your pipes are full and this usually represents the no breaks in the mainline and no valves have been left on from the winterization.

Use your eyes:  
  • Inspect each of the valve boxes to make sure water isn’t filling them.  Normally valve boxes are dry, though sometimes runoff from downspouts and gutters fill them.  
  • If you see tiny root mats in the boxes, this means you have a leak it needs to be repaired. 
  • If your valve boxes are buried in soil, dig out the soil as moisture can cause corrosion on the wire connections and render the valve useless.  
  • Make sure all wire connections have waterproof.  These are different than household wire nuts.

Use your hands:
  • Turn on each zone from the controller to ensure your controller is sending power to each of your irrigation valves.  
  • Run each zone for about 2-3 minutes to see if heads are out of adjustment, heads aren’t broken, no bubbling of water present where a sprinkler isn’t and all areas that you desire to be watered are getting great coverage.  
  • Program the controller to follow the watering guidelines set forth by the City of Bend.  https://www.bendoregon.gov/government/departments/utilities/conservation/waterwise-irrigation

Where are the most common areas for damage?

The most common area for damage through Winter is around walkways, sidewalks, and driveways.  Vehicles, snow removal equipment, and pedestrians tend to damage irrigation equipment in these areas, so it’s best to spend more attention there.  Look for excessive water flowing down hard surfaces, is a good indication that you have a broken fitting or head, even though it looks like water is flowing through the sprinkler head with no problems.  

Don't wait, plan early!

Bottom line, it takes time to repair an irrigation system and when you need it the most, so does everyone else.  If you are adept to repairing irrigation systems, you should be fine with heading to Home Depot or Lowes and getting your system back on track.  If you aren't, you may find that companies are booked out for weeks at a time with repairs that need to be completed.  So planning ahead of when you need water is extremely important if you want water when your plants need it.  

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