There is no life without water. It is an essential part of all chemical and biochemical reactions taking place in a living system. Water is very important for plants, as it regulates turgidity and maintains turgor pressure through which plants stand erect in the soil. Thus, the timely application of water to a lawn and other agricultural crops is mandatory.
Controlling the application of water, through artificial means such as pipes, ditches, or sprinklers, is referred to as irrigation. The main objective of irrigation is to fulfil plants‘ water requirements and reduce the effect of insufficient rainfall. Sufficient irrigation at a proper time helps plants to continue normal and healthy growth.
Irrigation also has some other benefits which are described below:
- Water is important for photosynthesis. Plants prepare their food by combining water and carbon dioxide and converting them into glucose.
- Irrigation increases the productivity of the land. Crop yields are consistently higher in irrigated areas as compared to rainfed areas.
- Moisture is essential for the germination of seeds. A seed cannot germinate without absorbing enough moisture from the soil.
- Through proper irrigation, creating wet-dry cycles, plant roots are stimulated to grow.
- A plant absorbs nutrients from the soil through the water.
Irrigation is the backbone of the whole of agriculture, including lawns and gardens, the usage of water for irrigation must be monitored because fresh-water is a scarce resource and isn’t available in many parts of the world. Globally, most land depends upon rains for the water requirement of crops. Thus, many systems have been developed to conserve water and improve water use efficiency. These systems include:
- Drip irrigation
- Sprinkler irrigation
Through this system, water and fertilizers are applied through a network of plastic pipes, at a defined flow rate. These pipes supply water closer to the root systems of the plants according to plants’ requirements. The soil around the roots is always kept moist at field capacity, which enables the plants to absorb the required water and nutrients.
This system is also useful in controlling weeds in the area as it only provides water close to the roots and does not irrigate the surrounding area; in this way, it also prevents water and nutrients from leaching down as well as reduces evaporation losses.
Drip irrigation is one of the famous and most efficient irrigation systems. But for lawns where we have to deal with grasses daily, drip irrigation does not support water requirements effectively, due to which sprinkler systems are considered a much more useful system for lawns.
Irrigation with a sprinkler system resembles rainfall. Water is pumped in the pipes, which ends up in the sprinklers, from where it is sprayed into the air where small droplets of the water fall on the ground. These sprinklers are designed to enable the uniform application of water.
Sprinklers are adaptable to most of the soils but are best suited to sandy soils. It is not suitable for the soils that can easily form crust. To avoid nozzle blockage, a good and clean supply of water, which is free of suspended sediments, is needed.
The Layout of a Sprinkler System
A sprinkler system consists of the following components:
Pump: Usually, a centrifugal pump is used in the system. The main objective of the pump is to provide the required pressure and a full supply of water to the sprinklers.
Mainlines are pipes that connect the pump to the laterals. These lines can be laid on the soil surface or buried below ground. These mainlines can be installed permanently in the field or temporarily so that these can be moved from field to field.
Laterals supply water from mainlines to sub-mainlines or directly to the sprinklers. These are made up of plastic or aluminum alloy. These are mostly portable and can be moved easily.
Sprinklers spray water into the air and spread it throughout the area. The rotary sprinklers are usually spaced 20-50ft (6 m – 15 m) apart along the lateral. After irrigation, this lateral is removed from the mainline and moved to the next field for irrigation of that area.
Operating of the System
The spray pattern is not much uniform in a rotary sprinkler. The area closer to the sprinkler is heavily wetted than the surroundings. For a good uniform application of water, several sprinklers must be installed together, and the overlap area of two sprinklers must be at least 65% of the wetted diameter.
The uniformity is mostly affected by wind and water pressure. Even a gentle breeze can easily reduce the uniform application of water.
The average rate at which water is sprayed on the lawn is measured in mm/hour. The application rate depends on the sprinkler’s nozzle size, the distance between sprinklers, and the operating pressure. The application rate must be adjusted to reduce water runoff from the soil surface.
Sprinkler Drop Size
Drop size, which is formed by a sprinkler range from 0.5 to 4.0 mm. Larger drop size falls on the edge of the wetted circle, whereas small drops fall near to the sprinkler. Larger drops are not suitable for delicate plants, as it can damage the plant stem. Drop size can be controlled by nozzle size and water pressure. The use of small nozzle sprinklers is recommended in lawns.
After the installation of a basic sprinkler system, one must choose the right sprinkler head for the lawn. The sprinkler heads are available in a range of variety in the market, some of these are mentioned below:
1. Rotating Lawn Sprinkler
- 80 psi (water pressure is measured in pounds per square inch) water pressure.
- 360-degree rotation.
- 32.8 ft (9.9m) spray distance.
- Moveable with a strong base that enables it to stand firm where it is placed.
- It is made of plastic.
2. Orbit with Tripod Base
- Large area coverage.
- Cover up to 90 ft (27.4 m) in diameter.
- A brass structure that makes it rust-proof.
- Spray cover is adjustable from partial section to 360-degree rotation.
- Tripod base.
- Moveable and easy to use.
3. Melno, Metal Turbo Oscillator
- Coverage of 4500 sq. ft.
- Adjustable width and watering range.
- Quickly connects and disconnects the supply.
4. Spot Sprinkler
- Ideal for small rectangular lawns.
- 15 feet x 30 feet (4.5m x 9.1m) rectangular pattern.
- Metal construction
- Works well in low water pressure areas.
5. Raigro 360 Degree, Pulsating Lawn, and Garden Sprinkler
- Easy to adjust
- Cover from 45 to 85 feet (13.7 m to 25.9 m) in diameter.
- It can be adjusted to cover a full circular (360°) area or a partial circle.
- Control the water flow to conserve water.
- Metal-head sprinkler
- Connect multiple sprinklers; fits all standard garden hose threads; works well on all garden and landscape areas.
6. ALMA Garden Hose Nozzle
- High-pressure water hose nozzle
- Rust-proof metal nozzle
- Hose attachment sprayer: 3/4″ (7.52/10 cm) brass connector, end of hose attachment fits all USA standard hoses.
- Nozzle with thumb control enables you to use the garden hose spray nozzle, outdoor for watering with high-pressure or low-pressure water flow.
- Ergonomic design
7. NiceFit Lawn Sprinkler
- This sprinkler provides stable flow in bad weather like rain, wind, and snow.
- It is made with high-quality ABS, which ensures sturdy performance.
- Easy to set up and use: just connect the water joint to the connector and tap.
- Provides constant 360-degree rotating spray without the need of other auxiliary power equipment.
- It uses the pressure of the household water supply to achieve automatic garden/lawn irrigation.
- Automatically rotating arm angle can be adjusted 45 – 90 degrees to control spray speed and direction.
8. Circle Pattern Twin Spot Sprinkler
- Ideal for small circular lawns.
- Up to 707 square foot coverage.
- 30-feet diameter circular spray pattern.
- Twin spray openings won’t clog, even with frequent use
9. Turret Sprinkler with Heavy-Duty Metal
- Nine water patterns
- Perfect for lawn and garden care.
- Accent your lawn with superior design and function, with this sprinkler.
- Nine water patterns supply a variety of functions
- Heavy-duty metal base
10. Port-A-Rain Above-Ground System Sprinkler
- Portable sprinkler system.
- Perfect for hard-to-water, odd-shaped areas
- Quick and easy to set this sprinkler system in your yard without having to dig.
- Evenly distribute water to each sprinkler, giving you a uniform spray pattern.
- Each sprinkler waters up to a 24-foot diameter and is adjustable from a full to partial circle.
Sprinkler systems supply water in the form of droplets, which resemble artificial rain. Available in a wide range of designs and forms, a sprinkler system can be easily used on the lawn.
A carefully chosen sprinkler ensures the uniform supply of water to the whole lawn area. It is a more efficient system than old-time conventional methods of irrigation, i.e., flood irrigation. It is a water-conserving system and is best suited for use in the lawns.