Experts’ Tips: Proper placement of sprayheads

irrigation sprayhead (Photo: iStock.com/MaYcaL)
Photo: iStock.com/MaYcaL
irrigation sprayhead (Photo: iStock.com/MaYcaL)
Photo: iStock.com/MaYcaL

The challenge: How should irrigation professionals properly place sprayheads?


Kelsey Jacquard, Product manager — MP Rotators & Sprays, Hunter Industries

Kelsey Jacquard
Product manager — MP Rotators & Sprays

Proper sprinkler placement depends on the types of plants being irrigated, expected plant growth over time and size of the hydrozone area. DO keep in mind that shrubs and flowers will likely require a different design than turf to prevent future overgrowth from blocking the spray pattern and to protect delicate plants from potential damage. A 4-inch pop-up is generally acceptable for shorter, warm-season turf, but taller turf typically requires a 6-inch pop-up. Some taller ground cover requires a 12-inch pop-up. DON’T forget, larger landscape areas can use farther-throwing sprinklers, like rotors, while smaller areas can use shorter-throwing spray nozzles. Rotary nozzles can irrigate both smaller and larger areas.

Jain Irrigation

Richard Restuccia Vice president, water management solutions, Jain Irrigation

Richard Restuccia
Vice president, water management solutions

DO check to ensure a pop-up sprinkler or rotor is necessary. When possible, use drip irrigation to increase the percentage of water reaching the plant material. Little or no water is lost to evaporation when water is applied at ground level, near plant roots. DO remember that when the only possible solution is a rotor, select a low-angle nozzle. DO review your zone separation and make sure the lawn is separate from shrubs, sun areas are different from shade and slopes are on a separate zone from flat areas. I also recommend smaller-radius heads to provide better control. DON’T forget to select a smart controller with water-conserving features and predictive weather analytics to reduce water waste.

Rain Bird

Paul Anderson, Product manager — contractor rotors, Rain Bird
Paul Anderson, Product manager — contractor rotors, Rain Bird

Paul Anderson
Product manager — contractor rotors

DO ensure that you’re selecting the right head for the right job to achieve optimum coverage and performance. DON’T try to fit a rotor where a different product, like a fixed spray or rotary nozzle, might perform better. DO select your nozzle based on the distance of throw and precipitation rate that your application requires. DO space your heads appropriately to facilitate head-to-head coverage. Too much space in between heads will result in dry areas, and too little space will result in certain areas being overwatered. DON’T use the same nozzle for every watering pattern or reduce your throw distance any more than necessary. While it may be tempting, you risk both efficiency and performance by doing so. Use the right product for the right application, and you and your customers will both be happier in the long run.

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