Lawn irrigation troubleshooting.

There are all sorts of issues you can have with lawn irrigation systems over time. Sprinkler heads won’t pop up. They won’t spray correctly. Then sometimes some of the heads spray but others won’t even pop up. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear from one entrepreneur who had a problem with a tree root pinching a main water line that kept the system from performing properly. Let’s look into this further and find out how he diagnosed the problem and how he ultimately resolved the issue!

One lawn care business owner wrote “I am not a pro at irrigation. I am a 73 year old trying to troubleshoot an irrigation problem on a property I mow. I retired 10 years ago and decided that I needed to keep busy so I started a small mowing company that has slowly grown to offer other services, though this is my first time dealing with lawn irrigation.

Pinched lawn irrigation line.

Pinched lawn irrigation line.

The situation is I have approximately 90 feet of Rainbird 1800`s (10 heads). The 2 corners are 45 ° while the 8 others are 90° heads. The first 45° pops up and seems normal. The second (90°) head seems to be spraying way more than normal (higher pressure)? As it goes down line the next two pop up all the way but don`t seem to have normal coverage. After that, the rest of the heads only pop up slightly - maybe two inches and very low pressure or coverage.

The system was installed in 1998 - professionally, worked perfectly till this year. This is zone 4 of 8. All other zones are working normally. I have just replaced the last 5 heads with new heads because they were all lower than normal so since I had to dig them up to raise them to a proper height.

Pinched lawn irrigation line.

Pinched lawn irrigation line.

All the pressures in all zones are great. With no water from the zone 4 (off at the controller). To try and figure out why this was happening,  today I cut into the MAIN 1″ line at head 3 and inserted an elbow with 1″ slip fitting to 3/4′ thread. This left the left side open. Next, I hooked my garden hose to the 3/4 coupling, turned the hose on, and BINGO - all heads to the right, 4 -10, POP’ed full up with full coverage….! This showed me that the problem was to the left with 3 heads to deal with.

Next I injected the hose into the left side where I cut the main to see what that did. I was able to insert a 1/4″ drain auger, not trying to cut through anything, just to see how far it goes in toward the left. From that test, I got the feeling that the 30 year old maple tree roots nearby may have pinched down on the main pipe somewhere in the left area.

Pinched lawn irrigation line.

Pinched lawn irrigation line.

After some digging I found a pinched line. This helped some but did not solve problem completely. Because the roots were now soooo big - I finally had to call in a sprinkler service that used a ‘TRENCHER’ to cut a 20 foot trench next to the original main. They replaced the main and connected it to my original cut point and FINALLY - problem SOLVED!!! At my age I could not have cut through all of the roots for 20 feet!!!!

I hope this helps you troubleshoot your lawn irrigation problems in the future.”

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