When the first day of spring hits, the most popular question we get is, “when should I turn my sprinklers back on?”
Most people, especially us impatient residents of Long Island, call looking for a simple answer like, “the first day of spring,” or “April 1st,” or “the first day of the year where it hits 60 degrees,” but it just isn’t that simple.
The right answer is “whenever it stops getting freezing at night.”
Your irrigation system won’t know when your lawn is ready to be watered. It’ll turn on whenever you (or whoever you hired) turns it back on. Unfortunately, many make the mistake of turning on their sprinklers too early and actually end up damaging their system, all while their grass didn’t really need to be watered in the first place!
The main problem here comes from the seemingly sporadic way weather works. Sprinklers get damaged when water is in the pipes when it’s cold enough for water to freeze, which is why your system goes through winterization.
People tend to see the first signs of spring with a warm 50+ degree sunny day or a month on the calendar that reminds them of lush grasses and flowers blooming like March or April and automatically assume it’s time to get the water flowing again. But even one evening when the temperature drops below 32 degrees can freeze the water you now have in your irrigation system and become a giant headache.
The best indicator of when it’s safe to turn your sprinklers on again is just going to be the weather app on your phone. Keep checking daytime AND nighttime temperatures and make sure you’ve reached a few week period in which the temperature hasn’t dropped below freezing.
Of course, just because you can turn your irrigation system back on doesn’t mean you have to. An even better indicator of when your lawn needs water is just going to be your eyes.
Your eyes won’t lie to you. If your grass looks dry, then it probably needs water. When it needs water, it’s time you turn your sprinklers on again.
And when turning the water back on, make sure to do it slowly and make sure that none of your sprinkler heads are clumped up or damaged before you start. Turning water on for broken or poorly maintanenced equipment is an easy way to risk long term damage to your system, even if the temperature and lawn quality is ideal to start watering again.
When all is said and done, enjoy your fresh lawn and rest with peace of mind knowing that you’re not risking cracking any of your sprinkler pipes!