Watering Device Types
Spray heads are the most commonly used sprinkler in the Santa Clarita Valley for residential turf and shrubs. Heads are spaced according to the specific nozzle (which screws into the top of the head), but they are usually not more than 15 feet from one another. Most frequently, spray heads in the Santa Clarita Valley are pop-ups, which literally means they pop-up during irrigation and then retract afterwards. This is most likely what you have in your yard.
Spray heads apply water much faster than the clay soils in the Santa Clarita Valley can absorb it. For this reason, “Cycle and Soak” is most frequently used as a setting. (Your Weathermatic SmartLine controller will do “Cycle and Soak” automatically based on what soil type you choose). “Cycle and Soak” means the spray heads apply water in a very short cycle (even one minute or less) in a burst and then wait for the water to soak in before irrigating again. This reduces run-off and encourages deep, healthy roots in turf.
Rotary heads (rotors) can also be used for residences, but are best for large turf areas such as parks and community-owned landscaping. Rotary heads can shoot water 25-40 feet, which is too far for most yards in the Santa Clarita Valley. Rotary heads are also typically pop-up heads that you only see while the irrigation system is watering.
Like spray heads, rotary heads apply water much faster than the clay soils in the Santa Clarita Valley can absorb it. “Cycle and Soak” should be used in the Santa Clarita Valley in order to allow water to fully absorb.
Drip systems are increasing in prominence in the Santa Clarita Valley for shrubs and trees. These systems generally apply water at the same rate as the soil can accept it. Drip may require a pressure regulator for your irrigation system (separate from a pressure regulator for your house) to keep the pressure low. Drip is considered the ultimate in water use efficiency --- you are applying water only at the rate the soil can accept the water, so you won’t have run-off.
Bubblers work best for trees with basins around them. Water is released from the bubbler at a faster rate than the soil can generally accept. But if there is a basin to contain the water, it will absorb over time.