An automated sprinkler system is an essential part of any good lawn care setup. Automated sprinklers allow the user to set timers and water flow rates, giving ultimate control over grass watering, with very little effort after initial setup. Sprinkler heads are installed throughout the yard for even irrigation that will leave a yard looking green and healthy. Without proper care however, grass will grow over the sprinkler heads. This article will share a number of ways to keep this from happening.
Ways to Prevent Grass From Growing Over Sprinkler Heads
Because grass growing over sprinkler heads is such a common issue, companies have created an easy way to prevent it from happening by selling sprinkler guards. Guards can be purchased from a home improvement store or Amazon. All guards will be a little bit different depending on the type of sprinkler head it is being used for, but the premise of each is the same. The guard is a usually made of plastic or concrete and it fits snugly around the sprinkler head, preventing grass from growing over it.
Guards are effective at preventing lawn overgrowth, but they have other benefits as well. They can help protect sprinkler heads from lawn care equipment. They also keep owners from forgetting where the sprinkler heads are located, a surprisingly common problem. Concrete guards can even help prevent damage to heads if they are run over by a vehicle.
How to Install a Guard
Before installing the sprinkler guard, you will want to remove the grass around the sprinkler head. A good way to do this is to place the guard around the head and use chalk to dust around the perimeter. Then remove the guard, carefully dig up the grass within the outline, and install the guard over the sprinkler head, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
PVC pipe can be used similarly to a sprinkler guard. You will want to cut a piece about six inches in length. It can then be placed over the sprinkler head and pressed down into the ground. Leave enough of the pipe above ground to protect the head. This option takes a tiny bit more work than buying a guard but is less expensive and you may even have pipe on hand, which would be this option very convenient.
Depending on the landscaping of the yard, you might like the look of landscape rocks arranged around the sprinkler heads. It is a good idea to use the rocks in combination with guards or PVC pipe. If using with PVC pipe, be sure that the pipe is a little bit higher than the level of the rocks. Landscape rocks will clearly alert anyone doing the lawncare of where the sprinkler heads are located, and they add a different aesthetic to the yard.
Polyethylene film, known commonly as plastic mulch, is a very effective tool to protect sprinkler heads from lawn overgrowth. It can be purchased pretty much anywhere that sells landscaping materials, or online. It is sold in rolled up sheets and may be clear or black. Black mulch will be your best bet for this purpose.
How to Install Plastic Mulch
Just like when using a guard, you will want to remove grass first from the area where you will be applying plastic mulch. Carefully dig up the grass around the sprinkler head, about 2” out and add a thin layer of topsoil. Create a 3” deep circle around this area and then cut a piece of film the same diameter as the circle you just created in the ground, with a small circle in the center for the head. Tuck the inner circle of the film around the sprinkler head and the outer edge into the circle in the soil.
Another option to prevent grass from growing over sprinkler heads is to use herbicides. Use can use organic or inorganic herbicide depending on your preference. If you decide to go this route there are some steps you will want to take to protect both your sprinkler heads and the surrounding lawn.
How to Use Herbicide
Herbicide should not come into contact with your sprinkler heads. You can protect heads by covering them with plastic bags and using rubber bands to keep the bags snugly fitted. To protect your yard, take a plastic garbage bag and cut a hole in the center that is the diameter of the grass you want to get rid of. Place the garbage bag around the sprinkler, being sure that the sprinkler head is placed directly in the center of the hole you cut.
Once you have protected your sprinkler head and yard, saturate the ground around the head with herbicide. You may need to reapply from time to time if grass begins to grow back in the area. Herbicide is a very effective solution for keeping grass from growing over sprinkler heads, but it will not protect the heads from lawn equipment the way guards, pipe, and rocks will.
Here is another quick video to help you out.
If you have spent the time and money on installing an automated sprinkler system in your yard, you will want to be sure that your sprinkler heads are protected from lawn overgrowth. This will keep them working in their best condition and keep them from becoming hidden. The method you choose for preventing overgrowth will depend on your unique circumstances and preferences. Any one of the methods described above will keep your sprinkler heads safe for a long time to come.