As soon as the grass starts to turn green – and sometimes even before it’s green – customers start calling to find out if they should or shouldn’t start up their sprinkler systems. As the temperatures start to get warmer, the grass is going to come up and it’s going to turn green. But it’s also going to rain more this spring. So should you or shouldn’t you?
Not yet. Typically we don’t suggest that our customers start up their systems until the end of April or the first of May. This year, we may even be a bit later than that. Usually, the forsythias are blooming by the end of March; this year, they’re just now starting to bloom. So with the late freeze, everything is a little bit later than normal.
Believe me, your grass doesn’t need to be watered yet. The ground still has plenty of water in it, and we’re going to get more rain in the next few weeks. If your grass is brown, it’s because it’s still dormant from the winter. If it’s already turning green, then it has all the water it needs for now.
There is a real risk in starting up your system too early. You can run the risk (and the expense) of having your backflow preventer freeze if we get another cold night or two. The ground in the spring is still really cold from the winter. That’s why when the wind blows this time of year, it feels so cold. The ground in the fall is still holding the heat of the summer, so it’s safe to leave your system operational in the early fall. But with the cold ground in the spring, you run the risk of damaging your system if we should get a night below freezing.
If you just have to start up your sprinklers now, make sure you take precautions if the temperature dips below freezing. You can wrap your backflow with old blankets or towels and then cover with a plastic bag – or you can purchase an insulated backflow cover.
Wait another couple of weeks, maybe even into the middle of May, before you start up your system. If you want us to start up your sprinklers, make sure you call soon. Appointment times in late April and early May are booking up fast. If you want to start your own system, you can find instructions on our Website.