Lawn watering with impact sprinklers?

Greetings all,
I'm relatively new to this group, and have a few questions that I think you all might be able to answer.
I'm attempting to water a fairly large amount of lawn. I have three spiked impact sprinklers (the ones that make the "ticking" noise) that can throw water about 80 feet and an ample amount of hose.
I'm wondering what the optimal way to deploy these sprinkers are, and how much watering I should be doing in order to properly water the grass that is here. There are sufficient faucets on the exterior of the buildings and I have sufficient hoses to move the sprinklers to any position necessary (corners of the lawn, center, edges, etc.).
Water pressure is pretty good, so using two sprinklers daisy-chained together is acceptable, but three is not effective. I also have a small square "It gets the corners!" sprinkler to fill in the areas not reached by the impact sprinklers.
A crude ASCII map of the area is as follows:
_______________________________ | | | | | | | _____________ | |--------| |--------| | | | | | | | | | | | | |<-40ft->|Building #1 |--------| | | | ^ | | | | 100ft | | | | v | |--------| |--------| | |____________| | | | | | | | | | | _____________ | |--------| |--------| | | | | | | | | | | | | |--------|Building #2 |--------| | | | | | | | | | | | | |--------| |--------| | |____________| | | | | | | | | | | | _______________________________|
It's not entirely to scale. Each plot of grass is about 40 feet wide, but 100 feet long. It's too much to be covered by a single sprinkler. Two slightly-overlapping sprinklers work fairly well, and leave only a few "dead spots".
Given that I'm in Washington State, and have no idea what species of grass (it's standard army issue grass) is here, and given that water puddles up after about an hour of watering, what would be the most efficient way of deploying the sprinklers (with the least amount of movement and re-adjustment), and how long should I water each particular area, and how long should I wait before re-watering?
Sorry for the large amount of vagueness in this question...I'm not terribly familiar with the types of grass that the army uses in Washington State. Needless to say, I'm trying to keep the lawns as green as possible with the least amount of effort (gardening is not my primary job, but I try to do what I can).
Many thanks!
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Pete Stephenson
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I recently had the same problem, as I just had my large yard hydroseeded. I only have two spigots on the exterior of my house. There is sufficient pressure to run two impulse sprinklers off of each spigot, as long as the sprinklers aren't the extra large models. The problem is that these sprinklers advertise a coverage of 80' diameter and put down 1/4" of water in 3 hours. But in the real world, that would have been with absolutely no breeze and a single sprinkler on each spigot. When dasychaining them, the coverage was reduced, any blowing breezes also reduced the effective coverage. What I did was to get a couple of 2-way splitter manifolds, and installed one on each spigot. This gave me two outlets at each spigot. I then put an electronic timer on each output, 4 in total. I then used the largest impulse sprinkler I could find. It advertised a coverage of 108' diameter and put out 1/4" in 2 hours, roughly 50% more water than the smaller impulse sprinklers. This way I could set each timer so that only one of the sprinklers from each spigot was operating at the same time. That way each sprinkler would get full pressure and cover a much larger area, and quicker too. I used digital electronic timers that run as long or as short as I like up to 4 times each day. This way, I could water a large portion of the property while I was away or at work, then I just had to do a few sprinkler moves to get any missed areas. good luck, Matt in MI

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Hmm...interesting idea. I'd do that at home, but I'm afraid that in the army barracks we're in, expensive things like electronic timers and extremely useful things like Y splitters are frequently "tactically reacquired" by others.
Any other ideas?
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I know some of us don;t have much of a choice but today I managed to tear up wuite a bit of my nice new growing grass from a damned in=mpacked type sprinkler, one of those with the spike you stick down in the ground. What happens is the soil loosens up around the spike and it starts to wobble and in the process the hole gets larger and larger each time the sprinker rotates around and eventually it flips out of the hole and lays on its side washing away the dirt, seed etc..I would suggest driving a pipe or tube in the ground of a sufficient size so the spike will fit in this tube instead of the ground. Being elevated also help make a better dispersal of the water as well. I normlly used piece of 1" conduit (EMT Thinwall type) drove into the ground for mounting the sprinkers in but today had to change a section and figured I would just drive it in the ground for now............but it bit me in the butt. Of course various soils willact different and my soils are sandy with some loam and wash very easy, but then again most soils will with water pressure anyhow. Just something to be aware of with those spike in the ground impact sprinklers. Visit my website: http://www.frugalmachinist.com Opinions expressed are those of my wifes, I had no input whatsoever. Remove "nospam" from email addy.
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This isn't a problem on the larger impulse sprinklers that I have, they have three stakes, can't rotate. How you position the hose can also help to keep the single spike sprinklers from rotating. good luck, Matt in MI

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Pete, most lawn grasses in the PNW are a blend of cool season grasses that do best in our climate. 'Cool season' is a key - these are grasses that want to go dormant during the heat of summer. Water is an extremely valuable (and expensive) resource here in WA state and I would encourage you to allow the lawns to go dormant if at all possible - attempting to maintain a large expanse of lush green lawn through the heat and dryness of our summers is often an exercise in futility, not to mention a huge drain on one's pocketbook, paying premium rates for water. The lawn will green up rapidly once cooler temps and fall rains resume.
If maintaining the greenness is essential, the lawn will need one inch of water per week, preferably delivered in one or two significant waterings rather than daily small doses. If puddling occurs, it is an indication you need to aerate the lawn so that the water will percolate well down into the root zone. And don't mow too short - too tight a cut exposes roots to too much sun and further dries out the lawn, as well as allowing the germination of weeds.
pam - gardengal WA state

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Before I installed an in-ground system, I used the in-ground type sprinkler heads on standard, above-ground style spiked bases with standard hose threads. I found that underground sprinkler heads designed for large areas were better made, even though they're not as easy to adjust.
Also - you can run 3 or 4 sprinkler heads from 1 faucet if your hoses are tapped off the faucet individually, or are 3/4" instead of cheap-o 1/2" garden hose.
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Hmm...sounds good.

Alas, as I mentioned, I'm in the army...and logic and reason (as well as efficiency) have no bearing whatsoever. I have been instructed to maintain this lawn, and doggone it, I will. :)
Is there any way to calculate the approximate watering time necessary to lay down an inch of water per week? For instance, would two hours with a standard impact sprinkler (40ft radius) with good water pressure put down an inch of water? I could go out there and put some cans down to measure, but I'm just looking for an approximate value. I have some faucet timers, so I don't go overboard and leave the lawns soaked and waste a ton of water if I forget to turn off the faucets.
I'm just trying to get this done as best I can in the most efficient manner possible. That is proving to be rather difficult, as I'm not a gardening expert.

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wrote:

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No, not without consulting the manufacturer or the packaging the sprinklers came in. I recently purchased a couple impulse sprinklers from Lowes. I bought a gilmour sprinkler that advertised 5800 sq.ft coverage (80' diam) and puts down 1/4" of water in 3 hours. I also bought one of their large models that covers 8500 sq.ft (100' diam.) and puts down 1/4" of water in 2 hours. FYI, lawns need aprox 1 inch of water a week to keep from going dormant during the warm dry season. good luck,

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Hmm...that's it? Only 1/4" of water in 3 hours? That seems to be very, very little. I'm getting large puddles of standing water after only two hours of watering.
The sprinklers I'm using right now are Orbit/Sunmate Zinc Impact Sprinkler with Zinc Spike Base (http://tinyurl.com/2kcch )
My timers can only be set to 2 hours at a time. I'm rotating the sprinklers around a bit to get different coverage area (and so the water in one area can percolate a bit). There's a large amount of overlap, but my main concern is maximum area wetness, rather than a specific amount of water in a particular area.
Once I get coverage, then I can refine positions and timing to ensure that the areas are getting the watering they're needing. I've also seen gear-moved, water-driven sprinklers (http://tinyurl.com/yqxme ) that spray in circular patterns like impact sprinklers, but with no noise and seem to be less succeptible to spike-bending (I just bent a spike today). It's either that, or some impact sprinklers with some heavy-duty triple-spiked bases that can soak 100'-wide areas. Those seem to be a better investment, considering the type of soil we have here (hard and rocky). If most impact sprinklers only put out 1/4" of water per 3 hours, that's 12 hours of watering in order to lay down an inch of water.
It's rather odd, as near the command-staff buildings, they have lush, green grass growing year-round, and they don't seem to have in-ground sprinklers...and you never see the sprinklers going, so they're not running them for 12 hours at a time. I wonder what's going on.
Are there any recommended sprinkler brands for quality and durability? The Orbit/Sunmate ones seem rather nice, but the zinc spike of one of them bent 45 today, rendering it useless. I'm looking for something heavy-duty with a beefy base (a sled-type base that won't tip over is acceptable, but all the ones I've seen have tipped easily), preferably a metal impact head (plastic is ok, but only if it's durable...non-impact continuious stream gear-moved water-powered heads like the one I linked to above are also acceptable, if people have more information on them), and the ability to be chained in series (though this isn't of utmost importance, it'd still be convienient). Oh, and high water volume and long-range stream. I must admit that I'm relatively new to lawn care, and if I'm going to invest (even if less than a hundred dollars) in sprinklers and other materials, I might as well get the good stuff.
Cheers!
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Pete Stephenson
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wrote:

I have the extra large, triple-spike based sprinklers. it advertises to put down 1/4" in 2 hours. (50% more than the 80'diam. sprinklers) They cost around $25-$30 each at Lowes. Here is an url to this sprinkler http://www.gilmour.com/Watering_Hose_End/Sprinklers/ExtraLargeCoverage.asp Running it two times a week for 4 hours will get you your 1" of water a week. My soil has a lot of clay in it, so I can't run this sprinkler any longer than about 30 mins at a time before I get major puddling. I have timers set that run the sprinkler 4 times a day for 30 mins each time. I am still trying to get my lawn established, so I am watering alot right now. Once it is established, I will back off the timers to running twice a day for 30 mins.
It wouldn't hurt to buy a rain guage and place it in the lawn. That way you can keep track of exactly how much water the grass is getting. Matt

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Hmm. Excellent. They sell those precise sprinklers right here where I'm at. I just wanted to double-check to make sure they were actually decent sprinklers before investing in them.
Thanks!

Indeed.
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Pete Stephenson
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I have these exact issues. Soil is heavy clay and after only 15 min. the water is running into the street. I have an inground system with a decent Hunter timer. I set it to run 5 - 15 min per zone. After it finishes the 7th zone the water has soaked in enough to start at zone 1 again.

My experience has been that the local water authority will give you rain gauges.
Tyler
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