When to Start Up Your Sprinkler System in Michigan

by | Mar 5, 2024

Snow is lingering on the grass, and Michigan’s Woody the Woodchuck predicts we have six more weeks of winter. But the sun is getting brighter, and days are longer, meaning spring will arrive soon.

With spring clean-up and early planting on the horizon, you’ll need to decide when to start your sprinkler system.

Risks of Opening Your Sprinkler System Too Early

Although Michigan is experiencing some winter storms,  temperatures for the season are beating the average, and forecasts call for warmer-than-usual weather through April. Warmer days combined with the official “start” of spring on March 19 may tempt you to open your sprinkler system. But remember, spring snows aren’t unusual in Michigan, and irrigation systems don’t like the cold!

Temperatures below freezing can damage  your sprinkler system and create costly repairs.

Best Time to Start Your Sprinkler System

The best time to start irrigating your lawn and landscaping depends on the Michigan weather. Historically, opening your irrigation system in mid-to-late May ensures frost-free days. Because spring brings rain, cooler evening temperatures, and cool ground temperatures, you may not need to water your grass until June!

Consistently warm weather can make earlier opens feasible, with some cautions:

  • Opening around mid-April is possible if you have insulated sprinkler valves and support draining backflow devices.
  • If you are willing to monitor daily temps and take steps to wrap your system devices, a late-April start-up can work.
  • You will likely avoid freezes by early May and stay well ahead of the dry season.

Michigan’s climate ensures the ground likely has plenty of water to sustain your lawn and landscape during the early spring. If your grass is brown, it’s likely still in winter dormancy, and if your lawn is green, then it has adequate water for now.

Check with an irrigation system expert if you have questions about the best open days for your system.

The Start-Up Process for Sprinkler Systems

Before starting lawn and landscape irrigation, take the following steps to get ready for the spring season.

  • Remove winter debris from your yard.
  • Trim foliage and dethatch your lawn to clear dead spots.
  • Consider a soil test to assess lawn health and help determine your watering schedule.

The Sanderson & DeHaan team will complete the following steps for a spring sprinkler system start-up.

  1. We will pressurize the irrigation system for the season.
  2. We’ll also inspect the backflow preventer or pump to ensure proper operation.
  3. Our team manually tests each station of the irrigation system and checks for proper function.
  4. If we notice any issues, we can make repair recommendations, and also take care of any head adjustments.
  5. Finally, we’ll set the controller program for the Spring watering.

Call Sanderson & DeHaan for Help with Spring Sprinkler Start-Up!

When you choose Sanderson & DeHaan for lawn sprinkling systems, our Standard Service Agreement covers Spring Start-Up service. Please call our team at (800) 489-4441 to schedule your appointments.

If you’re considering expanding your existing sprinkler system or want to install new irrigation, our team is here to answer your questions!


We only install the best.


Sanderson & DeHaan Irrigation
5797 South 12th Street
Portage, MI 49024

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