How Do You Mow a Lawn with Sprinklers?

How Do You Mow a Lawn with Sprinklers?

Installing a lawn sprinkler system is a great idea. It keeps your grass looking great during the spring and summer, reducing water costs and conserving this valuable resource. But how do you mow a lawn with sprinklers? The average sprinkler system contains around 40 sprinkler heads, so damaging them with the lawn mower can add to your household expenses. This guide gives you a quick rundown of how to mow a lawn with a sprinkler system. We’ll give you a few ideas to protect your sprinkler heads and ensure a safe mowing experience.

How Do You Mow a Lawn with Sprinklers?

Install the Sprinkler Heads Below Ground Level

The best option is to install pop-up sprinkler heads slightly below ground level that emerge from the lawn when pressure runs through the system. After watering, the heads return to the mounting as the water pressure declines so mowing isn’t an issue. This is how all modern systems in the Omaha area are installed.

Install Sprinkler Donuts

A sprinkler donut wraps around the head, providing damage protection. They feature plastic construction; you can find them at any hardware store. The donut has a tapered edge, allowing the mower to move over it without displacing it.

The donuts also come in heavier, sturdier concrete versions. However, the concrete version may damage your mower blades if they contact them. The concrete versions won’t float out of place if water pools around the sprinkler head, but the plastic ones might move out of place.

Sprinkler Donuts are a common solution in southern areas of the United States, where the more common turf grasses grow flat and out instead of up. These grasses tend to grow over sprinkler heads, necessitating trimming around each head. The donuts can help extend the time between trimmings. Since the common turf grasses in southeastern Nebraska don’t tend to grow over sprinkler heads, donuts are not commonly used here.

Install Swing Joints in Your Sprinkler Heads

Areas with shallow or sandy top soil may employ the use of swing joints to help prevent sprinkler head damage. Swing joints allow your sprinkler heads to move. If you contact them with the mower, they move out of the way, preventing damage from the blades.

Swing joints feature construction with flexible plastic pipe featuring a movable head at the end. These sprinkler joints fit above-ground systems, providing a useful tool for avoiding mower damage to the heads.

Flag the Sprinkler Heads

Flagging the sprinkler heads gives you a visual guide on where the heads are on the lawn, allowing you to mow around them without damage. The flags are small, with bright colors allowing for easy visibility when mowing. Just move the mower out of the way when you encounter a flag.

After mowing the lawn, use a weed whacker to trim around the sprinkler head. The big drawback to this method is that it is time-consuming and must be done every time you mow unless you want brightly colored flags across your lawn all summer long. Plus, there’s a chance you could miss a head.

Tips for Mowing the Lawn with Sprinklers

Here’s a quick guide to mowing a lawn with a sprinkler system. Follow these tips to ensure you don’t damage the sprinkler heads.

Turn Off the Sprinkler System & Complete a Dry Run

Shut off the water and do a dry run over the heads with the mower. Don’t start the mower before this test – it’s a dry run to see if the blades contact the sprinkler heads. If they don’t, you don’t have anything to worry about. Start up the mower and go about your lawn care duties.

Raise The Mower Blade Height

If the mower contacts the sprinkler heads during your dry run, raise the mower deck height using the manual lever on the side of the machine. Lawnmowers come in many varieties such as push mowers, self-propelled lawnmowers, gas-powered mowers, electric lawnmowers, and riding lawnmowers. Most models, no matter the size, come with several height settings for the deck. This allows you to set the cutting height to your preference.

In southeastern Nebraska 2.5” – 3” is the ideal length for summer and should give more than enough clearance for your sprinkler heads. Since a perfectly flat and level lawn isn’t usually the reality, this length also ensures you won’t scalp the lawn in spots. When the grass is too short it strips protection away from the crown of the plant, exposing it to the sun and making it more susceptible to drought and stress. A stressed lawn will go dormant, and when that happens in the middle of summer you may think the lawn is dying.

Try a few dry runs to see which setting offers the right height for your grass and sprinkler system. You might have to settle for taller grass, but you won’t damage the sprinkler system and your lawn will be better off for it.

Use a Sprinkler Head Trimmer

If you’re using flags and mowing around the sprinkler heads, you can clean up the area around the heads using a weed whacker or sprinkler head trimmer. Follow that with a leaf blower to keep debris away from the sprinkler head.

Generally used in areas where turf grass grows sideways rather than up, trimmers are available from garden or lawncare stores for an affordable price. Push the circular head of the trimmer into the ground around the sprinkler head and twist it.

The trimmer cleans up the area around the sprinkler head to a flat finish. Trimmers are available in standard or long-handle models to suit your preferences. You also have the option of manual or electric models, with the electric type being more expensive.

Unless you have the old maxi paw impact rotors, you shouldn’t have to bother with trimming around individual sprinkler heads in Nebraska.

Nature’s Helper – Lawn Sprinklers Omaha

With so much drought in recent years, it’s an essential step to install a sprinkler system designed for maximum water efficiency that still delivers a lush, healthy lawn. For more than 25 years, Nature’s Helper has been helping Omaha residents turn their lawns from ordinary into extraordinary. Through designing and installing residential and commercial underground sprinkler systems, we’re committed to providing innovative solutions and outstanding customer service every single time.

Are you noticing brown spots even with a drought resistant lawn and a water efficient sprinkler system? Periods of drought can reveal a poorly designed sprinkler system. At Nature’s Helper we don’t just get water on the lawn, we focus on hydraulics, spacing, and nozzling to put down 1/3” of water on the lawn as evenly as possible every time your system runs. If you find yourself pulling hoses even with an irrigation system, call Nature’s Helper – we can help you!

To request service or schedule a free installation estimate, contact us online or call us at (402) 334-2625.