How long should each station run for?

Setting the time for each zone is the most critical part of programming your timer. Each sprinkler zone or area of your yard has different water needs, so each station on your timer will very likely have a different time. If you have a zone that runs along the North side (commonly shaded) of your house, it may only need a few minutes a day to provide enough moisture for that area. A sprinkler zone that gets full sun or is shaded by trees will also have its own requirements. The fixed spray heads that pop up and shoot a steady spray of water, have a high precipitation rate and rarely need to water longer than 12 to 15 minutes per day, even with full sun. The gear or rotor heads that shoot a long single stream of water and rotate back and fourth, have a low precipitation rate and need to water 3 to 4 times longer than the spray heads. A zone of gear heads covering a fairly large area with full sun often needs 60 minutes per day to do its job. Figuring out how long to run each zone of your system often takes time and persistence. Give it your best guess in the beginning and adjust each zone as the summer wears on. If you see dry areas of your yard, determine which zones cover those areas and add time to them. Over watering is often harder to spot but can be a big problem for certain types of landscape. Use a small spade to dig into the dirt around sensitive trees or plants in the late afternoon to see if the ground is still soggy. Many plants and trees die from overwatering, especially in poorly drained soil. You may spend the first year of your new system just getting just the right time on all your zones. I recommend finding the times that work for the driest time of the year and then leave them that way. Use your “adjust water %” feature to adjust the daily amount of time you water for the balance of the year.