Cycle & Soak Sprinkler Tips

Colorado Springs Utilities Cycle & Soak Tips

Hi my name is Eric Becker, I’m an irrigation specialist for Colorado Springs Utilities. Today I’m going to talk to you about a simple irrigation programming technique called cycle soak. This is an average home lawn, with spray sprinklers like many of you have.

When that water comes on typically on a spray sprinkler it comes on at very high rate. The water cannot be absorbed into the soil and sprinkler water runoff occurs. So what cycle soak essentially does is allow that water, instead of running off your lawn into the street, it gets down into the 6-8 inches which is healthier for your lawn and allows it to get a more healthy or robust root system. So what we’re going to do is a really simple test that will show you how much water your irrigation system is putting down.

We need to figure out how long it takes your system or a system to apply a half-inch of water. A half-inch of water is what we recommend that you apply to your lawn in one irrigation application. Let’s go ahead and get started. What we have is five containers here. I’ve marked a half inch line on each container. We’re gonna set these containers out throughout the yard and run the sprinkler system until these half-inch marks are full. Alright, we just completed our test, we learned that our sprinkler system takes about a little over 20 minutes to apply a half inch water.

Now what we want to do to implement our cycle soak technique is divide up that twenty minutes into three equal increments of seven minutes each. We apply the water at seven minutes, wait about an hour for that water to soak in and then again, start the next runtime of seven minutes. What you don’t want to do is allow long periods of time to go in between each cycle. What that does is it will dry out your soil surface again, and it won’t allow the water to go down deep into your roots system. As you can see cycle soak is a very easy irrigation programming technique to implement. Remember, don’t just set your irrigation controller and forget it.

Implement cycle soak today. Visit our website at to learn more about irrigation equipment and techniques that you can implement to save water.

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