March 29, 2023



Hello everyone, JW here. I have been blessed to have gained many relationships across the nation with some extraordinary turf Installers.

I enjoy listening to all of your stories about your installations and how you express your attentiveness to become better craftsmen in this industry.

To be the best, you must understand the combination of materials, products, tools, and specifications that are needed for each installation and what to prepare for and what to look out for during the process.

Understanding Irrigation, especially existing irrigation, is crucial to the success of any turf installation.

I have witnessed beautiful installations get destroyed by irrigation pipes that flooded areas to no return.

Today, I am going to explain some tips on how to tackle irrigation issues that may arise when installing synthetic turf.

“There is never enough time to do the job right… but always enough time to do it over.”

This is a saying I preach everywhere I go. I see all types of contractors chasing their tails due to being so busy and overlooking details that cost them in the long run.

Are you having to go back on installations to fix irrigation leaks and regrade subbase under the turf?
Or are you having to go back on installations to add infill, fix edges, repair seams, etc.?
Having to go back on your work is always non-productive which will cost you money, time, and can be draining to your team, especially when water is gushing up and through the newly placed turf that you just installed.

Whether you know this or not, existing irrigation can make or break your installations… especially when they break and are left broken.

I recommend removing “ALL” existing irrigation. I also recommend creating a new irrigation plan to minimize lines under the turf that cannot be seen by the naked eye. I have seen beautiful installations ruined due to nails and staples puncturing lines and causing damage.

If there isn’t any irrigation near or within the location of your installation, then you may relax and carry on with the install. For the ones that don’t know, here are some tips that may help when facing existing irrigation.

1. I recommend having all irrigation and/or utility lines located outside the turf zone. If the lines are deep enough, then you may be safe from damaging them during the installation. If they are not deep enough, I recommend either lowering or removing them entirely from the inside of the turf zone. In many cases you may have to chase the lines to see if they are low enough.

2. Ask the client if they have an irrigation plan, drawing, or know where the irrigation pipes may be located. This may assist in relocating and/or termination of the system.

3. Are you removing natural grass, trees, plants, shrubs, lighting, etc. where the turf is going to be placed? If so, then all these lines must be lowered, removed, or placed outside the turf zone.

4. If there any trees, plants, or vegetation that will remain inside the turf zone? Then you will need keep irrigation live to these locations.

Site Arrival

When arriving on site, locate the irrigation valve box that operates the areas around and within the installation. If the natural grass is to be removed, then the grass valve must be capped and/or terminated to prevent any water entering the lines after the installation.

I have witnessed installers cutting valve wires thinking by cutting them will terminate the valve from turning back on. This is true but remember, it only takes a minute to rewire that valve back up.
I have heard horror stories of maintenance crews coming on the job, re-wiring live valves back up after they have been cut and entire backyards have flooded.

It would be smart to remove the valve entirely or cap the valve’s “exit line”.
Some may want to keep the valve connected to the irrigation clock for future use and remove the cap and connect to other vegetation.


Well, that’s a great question.

Some trees are not irrigated properly and unfortunately they get their water from irrigation sprinklers. If there are trees that are located inside the turf zone, then you must keep irrigation to them or they will get stressed and die.
Just because a tree is mature in size, doesn’t mean it can be watered less.

This means you may have to install “drip-tubing” around the tree, at its canopy line, or under the turf to keep the tree alive.


How many of you turf installers understand what “oxygen deprivation” means?

When placing imported DG, Chat, or Road base around trees and then compacting it to 80 or 90%? … you are depriving the tree of oxygen whether you know it or not.

I will go more into detail regarding synthetic turf & trees on a near future vlog.

Whatever you do, do not disregard existing vegetation inside the turf zone.

Always research how much water that tree will need or contact your local arborist for assistance.


Well, that is a question I have been asked for decades. And I say No, No, and No.

I do not recommend capping sprinkler heads or leaving any irrigation under the turf system for many reasons.

1. If the pipes are not deep enough, you will chance hitting them with a nail or staple… why put that pressure on your team?

2. If the pipe ever ruptured, it would destroy your installation.

3. Capping sprinkler heads with threaded caps may leak over time, eroding the soil, and causing depressions in the turf surface.

So do the right thing.

Cap the valve, terminate and re-route all existing irrigation, lines, and utilities that may cause issues during and after the installation.

You do this and you will be able to sleep at night knowing you did the right thing”.

Until next time….JW out!

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