Buffalo & WNY Lawn & Landscape Blog

Does Your Irrigation System Know When it’s Raining?

Jun 17th, 2015
Tags: Lawn Care, Irrigation
Summer in Buffalo can be surprising at times. We go from high temperatures with no rain to 70’s with a weeks’ worth of rain. However, during those days and weeks with high temperatures we really need to keep an eye on our lawn and landscape to ensure that our grass and plants are getting adequate water. Some have even installed underground irrigation systems to take the worry away. But what happens when it rains? Does your irrigation system know when to stop watering your lawn?


Rain Delay Sensor

Most irrigation systems are able to have an attachment known as a Rain Delay Sensor added to the control box. The Rain Delay Sensor is able to know when it is raining, how much it has rained, and when the system should turn off to prevent any over-watering in your lawn and landscape (which could lead to turf disease) and when to start back up to prevent drought conditions.


Watering and Irrigation Setting Tips

Most lawns need between 1/2 and 1 inch of water per week.  With the exception of new seed, watering should be deep and infrequent. Over-watering produces soggy soil, damages turf roots and promotes fungus. If your lawn needs water, it will start to look less “green”.  When stepped on, it will not spring up as quickly, and the blades will have a dull appearance.

One tip is to keep your irrigation system turned off until the weather turns warmer. This is usually mid/later May.  If your controller does not have a full-blown weather station that tracks rain, it is best to keep the system off through the spring while it is obvious rainfall is plentiful. Once temperatures are regularly in the 80’s, we recommend watering 2-3 times a week.  You can skip a cycle if we get 1/2 inch of rain or more.  Your smart controller or a Rain Delay Sensor will automatically do this.

Apply 1/2-3/4 inch of water per irrigation cycle.  If you water with a sprinkler and only want to do this once a week, put down 1 full inch.  This can be calculated by setting out several straight sided containers in the area you are watering, and measuring how much you collect.

Be aware:  watering lightly and infrequently can cause damage by promoting a shallow root system and fungus.  Do not take a hose, spray the lawn down for 15 minutes in the afternoon, and think it was adequate!  Many sprinklers take several hours to put down 1 inch of water.


If you would like to receive our FREE Watering Guide contact our office at 716-683-2408