Tips for Setting your Irrigation System This Summer

Before we get started, there are several universal points to be regardless of the season.

  1. Use your best judgement – no one knows your property better than you.
  2. Rotors are irrigation heads that turn and require more run time than a spray head which does not move.
  3. Watering start times are always right before the sun rises and then again at the beginning of the afternoon around lunch. Never water in the evening or at night – this will lead to a severe and costly disease outbreak.
  4. Follow the weather.
  5. If in doubt, give us a call and a tech will help you.


As temps breach the 65-70°F mark it is time to make sure your irrigation system is turned on and functioning properly. While it’s not imperative to make sure Fescue is getting water from irrigation at this time, (typically the weather in the Spring brings more than the required water amount to get Fescue lawns through the end of their Spring growing season) it doesn’t hurt to make sure you’re prepared for when it really matters in the fast coming Summer heat. If there is no rain forecasted for a period of 4-5 days, go ahead and run your system. General instructions are as follows:

Start time: Cycle should finish right as the sun crests the horizon for optimal results

Rotors: 12-14mins

Spray: 8-10mins

Frequency: 1-2 times/week weather dependent

As temps begin to heat up in the late Spring, begin to incorporate instructions listed under the Summer. Add 1-2 minutes per cycle and increase the frequency by 1 time, gradually achieving the numbers listed under the Summer section. Temperatures reaching daily highs above 80°F are Summer time temps for the purposes of irrigation for Fescue. Incorporating a syringe cycle when the temps begin to spike can save turf from unnecessary stress as well as help it transition to the heat of the Summer. Remember to exercise point 1 on the universal instructions list.


As temps breach the 80-85°F mark it is officially Summer for your cool season Fescue. Fescue struggles immensely during this time and is doing everything in its power to simply survive. This is where your irrigation system will show its value so long as it is properly set. The Summer irrigation cycle brings with it a huge tool for helping your Fescue cope – the syringe cycle. This cycle is used to help cool the crown of the plant to keep it from burning up and dying especially in areas of constant, direct sunlight. The hotter the day, the longer the syringe should be. Use this tool when in transition from Spring to Summer and from Summer to Fall. It achieves essentially what sweating does for animals for the plant. A syringe cycle is not necessary in areas with lots of shade especially if there is Fine Fescue growing there.

Standard cycle:

Start time: Cycle should finish right as the sun crests the horizon for optimal results

Rotors: 20-24mins

Spray: 16-20mins

Frequency: 3-4 times weekly (incorporate a weekend day in there every now and again)

Syringe cycle:

Start time: At the beginning of the afternoon (12-2pm)

Rotors: 4-6mins

Spray: 2-4mins

Frequency: Every day – even on days when the standard cycle runs.

Following these suggestions will greatly improve the health of your lawn this summer and help prevent disease and other problems caused by improper watering.