Ultimate Guide to Irrigation Calibration in Florida

Is your Irrigation System Calibrated?
September 21, 2020 by
Ultimate Guide to Irrigation Calibration in Florida
Brian McMaster

While it may seem like a simple, unimportant thing, calibrating your irrigation system could be the most beneficial thing you do for your lawn--especially in the hot Florida climate. Without a properly calibrated irrigation system, you could be in for some trouble. Proper calibration allows water to get where it needs to be in your lawn, keeping it happy, healthy, and beautiful. 

Ultimate Guide to Irrigation Calibration in Florida
Florida has a unique climate that can make proper irrigation a challenge between the soil, humid air, and scorching sun. But the fact that it is challenging only makes it all the more necessary. If you want to be sure that parts of your lawn won’t die from overwatering or lack of moisture, irrigation calibration is a must. Here is everything you need to know about irrigation calibration in Florida, so your lawn can be the best it can be. 

Water at the right time
Surprisingly, when you water is one of the most important aspects of irrigation--especially in hot climates like Florida. If you water in the middle of the day, the sun will evaporate the water from your lawn almost immediately. 

To combat this, it’s important to know the best time to irrigate your lawn, which in this climate, is in the very early morning or late at night. Watering at this time, while the sun is not yet up, will ensure that the moisture will have time to soak into the soil and get to where it needs to be at the roots of your plants. Set your timers to this time to ensure that your lawn is watered at the right time of day without any of the guesswork. 

Water on the right days
In unique climates like Florida, it is important that your lawn gets enough water, but not too much. To keep it simple, consider setting your timers to only water your lawn on certain days. This will keep your lawn from drying out or being over saturated, which each cause their own unique problems with your grass. 

It is important to calibrate your irrigation schedule in consideration for your geographical area. In Florida, the suggested amount of watering is two days per week, spread out over the week. For example, if you water on a Monday, don’t water again on Tuesday. This will oversaturate your lawn and leave it thirsty for the rest of the week. Instead, water on a Monday and then a Thursday, or other similarly spaced days. 

It’s all about timing
Your lawn doesn’t need the same amount of water all year round. Keep in mind the time of year when you water your landscape to ensure that you are watering enough in the dry seasons, and not too much during the wet ones. You can also save money on your water bill by paying attention to the suggested watering schedule in your area. 

How to check for proper irrigation calibration
Paying attention to how your sprinklers are positioned is the easiest and arguably the most important step in irrigation calibration. Your sprinklers aren’t doing your lawn much good if they are spraying water on your driveway or on the road, wasting water and your money. 

To check if your sprinklers are positioned properly in your lawn, follow these steps: 

  • Place shallow, empty cups around your lawn in range of your sprinklers. 
  • Turn on your sprinkler system for 30 minutes.
  • After the 30-minute cycle is done, measure the amount of water that was collected in the measuring cups. 
  • Check to see if there is an equal amount of water in each cup. Do cups in one area have a lot more water? Are there areas that have a lot less?

Following this procedure will let you know which areas of your lawn are receiving the least and most water, and will help you determine how long each area of your lawn should be watered. For reference, each watering cycle should yield about ¾ inch of water for your lawn. 

If you would rather someone else take care of your irrigation calibration, you’re in luck. Check out McMaster Lawn and Pest Services’ irrigation maintenance services so you can get your lawn irrigation calibration problems solved without getting in over your head.

Ultimate Guide to Irrigation Calibration in Florida
Brian McMaster September 21, 2020
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