Just as getting your misting system ready for winter is extremely important, so is getting it ready for spring. With just a few simple steps, you can make sure you are off to a good start.
First, take a quick look at all the misting components. You are looking for any cracks, breaks, worn areas, etc that may become problems later on. Also think back to the previous year and if you had any problems with the system. If any problems with any components are detected, now is the time to fix them.
If you have a DIG digital misting timer that controls your misting system (and you should!), replace the 9 volt battery. Simply remove the battery cover by giving it a twist, and the battery will drop out. Remove the old and replace with the new. Don’t worry about losing your program, the timer takes about 30 seconds to completely lose power and erase the program.
Remove any misting nozzles that may be installed in your main water line. Note how you remove them so you can reassemble everything back the way it was originally. Rinse out the main water line to flush out any debris that may be in them, rinse the nozzles in warm water, and if you have hard water or other minerals that cause scale, a short soak in vinegar will help dissolve any deposits. Reassemble the nozzles in the main line.
If using Dramm stix, the same vinegar soaking process works for the nozzles on them. One more item to look for on Dramm mist stix is checking the small black tubes for wear. If the end looks worn and has a smaller diameter than the rest of the tubing, cut it off with a razor knife. Using the tubes that have the ends worn will cause them to pop out of the holes in the water line. This can cause you to lose your entire bed of cuttings. Also look for cracks in the tubing along the seam. Replacement tubing for Dramm mist stix can be purchased in the event of a defective tube.
Next, rinse out the solenoid valve. Shake out any excessive water and debris with it. Opening the bypass and blowing out the water is also an option. be sure to close the bypass afterward.
Check the irrigation wire for breaks in the insulation or corrosion of the wire itself. Replace if necessary.
Clean out and rinse any filters you may be using. It is highly recommended to use a filter to eliminate any debris from entering your misting system components. Debris can cause solenoids to stick open and clog misting nozzles. I can hear some of you now “I have [insert water source here] and have never had any problems with debris in my lines”. That may be true. And it may not be.
Wells can have flakes of rust fall off the casing and the pump can pick this up and send it down the line and into your water piping. Occasionally, sand can also be stirred up and sent through your system too. The aerators on your faucets keep these small particles from getting into your drinking water and that may be why you have never seen sand in your glass of water. Water supplied through a local water district is less likely to contain debris, but it does happen. When any repairs are done on any lines by the District, sediment can and will enter the lines. This sediment can and will find its way to your water supply and your misting system. A simple water filter can save you a ton of time and money by keeping this debris out of your misting system. How do I know this?
Soon after the local water district worked on the lines near my friends house, her kitchen faucet stopped working. To make a long story short, the plumber the District sent ended up replacing the faucet because it was jammed with small pebbles that were carried in from the street.
Lastly, take stock of how the system performed the previous year and if you have any plans to expand your misting system the current year. If you had problems, now is the time to correct them. Any plans for expansion can be incorporated before your misting system is put into service for the year without any interruptions to your rooting operations. For instance, if you are adding a zone, installing a splitter or manifold with multiple outlets to deliver the water to it will be easier when there is no water in the lines. Also, the system will not have to be shut down to accommodate the additions.
Doing these simple steps before placing the misting system in service can help eliminate any problems that may arise later.
What do you do to get your system ready for another season of rooting cuttings?