How to Choose a Sprinkler for Irrigation

How-to-Choose-a-Sprinkler Tips

Sprinkler kinds

Surface sprinkler – equipped with a hydraulic motor, which provides a stable pressure in the nozzle. The maximum area of irrigation in such a sprinkler does not depend on the pressure in the water supply. The surface devices include most sprinklers.

Sprinkler retractable – has a special mechanism by which the device is either elevated above the ground (during irrigation), or hidden in it (after irrigation). Such a sprinkler does not spoil the appearance of the lawn, does not interfere with the work of the lawnmower. At the same time protection from accidental damage of the irrigation system by children and animals is guaranteed. Disadvantages: complex design, high cost.

Gun – an attachment on the hose, which turns it into a sprinkler. The area of watering depends on the length of the hose. Suitable for root irrigation of plants, cleaning surfaces. Advantage: Availability of the trigger to control the water supply. Disadvantages: complex design, high price, the possibility of fatigue during prolonged irrigation because of the need to hold the trigger.

There are two types of guns.

  1. Tip gun – equipped with a nozzle. You can change the spray pattern from soft (for watering delicate plants) to hard (for washing). But you can not select the individual types of jets.
  2. Spray gun – has a shower that generates several jets. Compared to the spray gun is more functional (2-12 types of jets), but less “long-range”. Suitable for a variety of tasks, including the treatment of large areas, watering seedlings or flowerbeds.

Tip – plays the same role as the gun, but wins in compactness and price. It is more convenient to work with the tip when watering continuously. Disadvantages: You can’t adjust the water flow, and it is more difficult to hold.

Boom – Allows you to use the nozzle/gun to irrigate hard-to-reach areas or areas with delicate plants that you can’t move around in. But the boom is ineffective when working in confined areas.

A spray boom is a combination of a boom and a spraying device. It has similar advantages and disadvantages, but unlike the previous variant does not allow you to remove the nozzle. However, the telescopic model provides for adjustment of the boom length. But the irrigator without such an option is more reliable and cheaper.

Spray boom – the best choice if you have to irrigate hard-to-reach places or delicate flora often and for a long time.

Drip bar is a compact sprinkler, which is used in the arrangement of the system of micro-drip irrigation. Such a system supplies water to each plant “individually” to the roots. This ensures high irrigation efficiency while saving water. Disadvantages: complex construction, high price. A good solution in conditions of water shortage.

Micro nozzle (micro sprinkler) – a simple and compact sprinkler with a short range of watering, without additional functions. Useful for creating automatic irrigation systems of several sprinklers. Micro sprinklers are well suited for watering plants in greenhouses or hothouses.

The turbo sprinkler is a multifunctional, low-noise and “long-range” device. This high-capacity sprinkler generates a continuous stream. The turbo sprinkler is the choice for regular treatment of large areas.

Types of sprinklers

Rotary – equipped with a rotating irrigation head and a stationary base. The number of working blades varies from 2 to 4. Advantages: a wide range of models, a considerable range of watering. Minus – quickly clogging. Therefore, for the normal operation of such a sprinkler you need a filter.

Static – devoid of moving elements. Such a sprinkler evenly irrigates only one area, although there are models with manual adjustment of the direction of the jet. Advantages: simple and reliable design, low price. Disadvantages: limited functionality, short irrigation range, susceptibility to clogging.

Connectable – connects to other components of the automatic irrigation system. As a result, several sprinklers can be connected to irrigate large areas.

Number of nozzles

This feature determines the number of jets that are simultaneously generated by the sprinkler. It is generally accepted that the more jets the better, because in this case a more even distribution of water is achieved. Oscillating models are equipped with 18-21 nozzles.

Also in oscillating sprinklers it is possible to lock a part of nozzles – this allows adjusting the parameters of irrigation (width, intensity).

Type of spray

This parameter is determined by the jet parameters, which are set by the user by selecting a particular mode of operation of the sprinkler. Sprinkling, spraying, misting, showering are used to irrigate delicate plants. You can clean surfaces with a hard jet. The “cone” mode creates a circle-shaped watering spot, the “fan” mode covers only a segment of it.

Number of modes

This characteristic shows how many types of jets the sprinkler generates. The more of these modes, the greater the capabilities of the device and the easier it is to cope with different tasks. At the same time, as the number of modes increases, the price increases and the construction of the sprinkler becomes more complicated.

Most often there are sprinklers with 1-3 modes, in more advanced devices this parameter reaches 7-8.

Maximum range (radius) of irrigation

This parameter depends on the type and design of the sprinkler:

  • retractable – 4-7 m;
  • rotary – up to 30 m;
  • impulse – 5-20 m;
  • oscillating – 6-20 m (length), up to 17 m (width);
  • fan motors – 3-6 m; circular motors – 3-10 m;
  • circular – 3-10 m;
  • micro nozzles – 3-6 m.

Sprinkler irrigation range is selected based on the area of the treated area. A high range requires adequate pressure, which worsens the quality of irrigation at a small distance. Therefore, to cover a large area it is better to buy several sprinklers with a short range instead of one “long-range” sprinkler.

Watering area

Minimum – covered by the sprinkler at minimum pressure. This characteristic is given for sprinklers with adjustable size of the treated sector. The lower this value is (with the same maximum parameter), the wider the possibilities for adjusting the irrigation area.

Knowing the minimum area is also useful if the area size is much smaller than the maximum irrigation area.

Maximum – covered by the sprinkler at the highest water head. A key parameter for devices where the size of the irrigation area is not adjustable.

In theory, the maximum irrigation area should correspond to the area of the irrigated area. But in practice, the shape of the treated area is also taken into account, and the more complex it is, the more difficult it is to choose a suitable device. In this situation, it is worth opting for several sprinklers covering a relatively small area.

Also knowing the maximum area and angle of irrigation makes it possible to calculate the maximum range of irrigation.

Irrigation Angle

This parameter defines the irrigation sector that is provided by the sprinkler. The unit of measure is degrees. Most sprinklers have a 360° angle.

There are models with a fixed and adjustable angle of irrigation. The first type includes fan (90° and 180°) and circular non-adjustable (360°) sprinklers. For adjustable sprinklers the irrigation angle is given the maximum parameter or range of values:

  • pulse, circular adjustable – 0°-360°;
  • fan-circular – 5°-360°.

Water flow rate

This characteristic is needed to determine the time it takes the sprinkler to irrigate the plants. This helps to avoid “flooding” of crops and unnecessary costs of paying for water.

Type of mounting

The foot is compact and reliable. True, the foot is not used on a hard surface and is useless for installing a heavy sprinkler.

Platform – unlike the foot, suitable for any sprinkler and surface, including asphalt. But the platform takes up a significant amount of space and squashes the plants that are underneath it.

Tripod – combines the advantages of the leg and platform, allows you to adjust the height of the nozzle lift. This solution is used in massive pulse models.

There are also other ways of installation. For comfortable moving around the site, the sprinkler can be installed on a cart. Another option is hidden installation, typical for retractable sprinklers.

Jonathan Harvey
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