This isn’t really top secret stuff about setting up simple irrigation for your gardens and yard area, but they might as well be, because few people ever really think about this and they often make the most basic mistakes when buying hoses, sprinklers etc.
If you want to see these Wiz Head Sprinklers in action, Watch this crazy video that Amber, Cathy and Gabby did for me. It’s the part where they are running through the sprinklers, right after the water balloon fight. Sheeeeesh!
I did this video for our Backyard Growers because as they grow more and more plants they keep adding garden hoses to their set up. That’s all fine and well. But then they add little hardware store do-dads to the system that really hamper the desired result. Watch the movie and I’ll explain what I mean.
Impact sprinklers like the one show here really do work pretty good and some of them are very affordable. This one is plastic therefore very inexpensive and I’ve found that they work almost as good as the metals ones. Now if you want to spring for solid brass impact sprinkler head, I’m sure you will see a remarkable difference.
At my first nursery that truly was in my backyard I watered over 5,000 plants a day with about three of these impact sprinklers. However, unless you have good volume you can only run about two at a time. In the video I explain why volume is more important than pressure when it comes to irrigation.
The Story about the IRS is Absolutely True.
Not a fun time in my life, but it is a true story.
Watch the movie, then if you have questions or comments post them below and I’ll be around to chat it up with you later.
I just read this review about the new owner/producer of the Whiz Heads on Amazon (by a nursery owner): ByDavid Chopinon June 10, 2012
Item Package Quantity: 1Verified Purchase
I have been in the nursery business over 36 years.
The sprinklers were originally called Wiz Heads and were made by an Ohio company called O F Nelson.
We used dozens of them in our nursery for overhead watering of our woody crape myrtle perennials and they were cheap and worked excellent for many years.
We actually still have many of these Nelson Wiz Heads working that are over 30 years old and they probably cost us only $2-$3 back then.
In the last few years we needed some additional ones and we purchased them from both Amazon and Home Depot. They are made in China and distributed by a company called Orbit.
None of them work. They look exactly like our 30 year old Wiz Heads but all of these from Orbit “LOCK UP” and won’t spin when you supply the water to them.
We have examined these closely and believe we finally have figured out why these Orbit ones don’t work.
The way it works is the water comes through a hole in the bottom of the sprinkler and hits the Black Plastic Spinner and the Spinner is designed to spin around and distribute the water like a spinning water sprinkler on a lawn. The original ones from O F Nelson had a very tiny washer at the top of the metal rod and the Black Plastic Spinner would go up and hit against the washer and the spinner would spin around very fast and sprinkle the water.
These ones from Orbit made in China do not have this tiny washer and when the Black Plastic Spinners goes up and starts to spin there is no washer and they lock up and DO NOT SPIN!
So Buyer beware these don’t work.
In the past few years I’ve purchased these wizhead sprinklers from a couple of different suppliers. I do shy away from the really inexpensive ones even though might all be the same product. For the most part, all of the ones that I have work. Occasionally one will stick which is why we always pay attention when running the water to make sure all the heads in that zone are turning. I won’t argue with what you are saying because I have had a few that are problematic. Somebody, one of our private members, http://backyardgrowers.com/join, told me that he adjusts that pin up or down to keep them from sticking. If the old ones had a washer and the new ones don’t, then that explains a lot. It’s a shame that a product that works so well, holds such a critical job in a growing operation would be changed to save a very tiny fraction of a penny to not include that washer.
There are a number of places where you can buy them today online and I’m not sure if they are all the same manufacture or not. The ones that I get come in generic plastic bag, no brand name, and of course I find that problematic.
How do you know if your beginning water pressure is enough? HOw do you know if you need a pump or not—trial and error?
Most irrigation guys like to see at least 65lbs of pressure which is easy to check by simply adapting a hardware store water pressure gauge to your outside faucet. The other concern is volume. You don’t really want the irrigation water coming from a 1/2″ line in the house if at all possible. If your incoming water line is 3/4″ or larger, that’s the best place to tie in the irrigation.
Maureen Coffey says
Actually, since esp. in hot summers over 50% of the sprinkled water tends to get lost due to evaporation I in recent years relied more on drip-feed piping or “tape” meandering around each plant than spraying (anyway spraying will leave lime stone deposits on the leaves unlike the distilled rain water). Never thought about pressure vs. volume, however, this is -in revers- the same as with most vacuum cleaners.
HANS GRUETZENBACH says
I found a good source for the whiz sprinkler head for only $3.49 ea.
They work well.
Hey thanks, I got mine from this company.
Lowell Johnston says
One question I have is about freezing. Do you drain the exposed pvc lines before freezes? What is the easiest way to drain?
Robert A Glasgow says
I live in Marana AZ zone 85653 I belive its zone 10 . what flowers will do the best here need color badly.
I’m the wrong person to ask about zone 10. Visit your local growers, they’ll know for sure.
I’m in Tucson and having a heck of a time. Only working summer grass – for a lawn about 10′ by 20′ – so far is the Bermuda grass summer (water daily AM in 100 degree weather) and rye ‘winter’.
Flowering plants so far I have done well with petunias, Don’t know the name, think it is a Proven Winners, it is a mounding tuft with upright stems that a reminiscent of asparagus fern (so thin and skinny with a green hair look) that have tiny flowers on the ends of stalks that bloom when the sun is shining – mine have purple flowers and are fond of ‘volunteering; salvia; a white mounding flower with lots of green, ummm – allysum I think – says annual but if you leave them alone they act like perennials here. Latana is also good for color, butterflies and bees, comes in white, purple, yellow and a rainbow color.
Oh – roses are supposed to do well here. I have an Arctic Flame that has been growing in a pot for two years.
You must put down grub killer in all your pots, and on your lawn. Also fertilize your lawn. I really liked Scott’s Summergard as it kills ants, ticks, grubs etc. and also fertilizes. With my dogs and cats it’s good to keep the bugs away. Always water in as soon as you use these products –
check labels – we don’t want to kill any bees!
I am growing three-in-one apple trees. There are three I put in the ground, which have survived so far, this is the second year. I have two in pots that are doing fairly well so far this summer, and one that looks like I will have to ‘re-graft’ the apple-bearing branches. They are on dwarf stock, so 10′ tall when mature. Says three to five years to bear fruit. Supposedly chosen for ‘chill hours’ in our area. Apple is in the rose family, so I have put Bayer rose care on them last week to fertilize and kill pests since no fruit this season, I will see how they do.
Karen H. says
Go to Tohno Chul Park to see plants that bloom in Marana without requiring too much water. Be sure to stay for a delicious lunch.
7366 N. Paseo del Norte
Tucson, AZ 85704
I can not find the Wiz Head Sprinkler on line. It seems some company bought out the Ohio company who manufactured this. A reviewer said the Whiz was made in China and was trash. Can you please let me know who sells the Wiz Head Sprinkler?
Thanks so much and i enjoy your website so much.
Check Home Depot ( same thing by different name ) Going to check it out tonight – I will be the area as it states our local store doesn’t carry it.
Thanks for all the Great Knowledge of Information….
I’m gonna put it to work for me this 2014 season.
I also want to work on a couple of rain barrels.
Hope it helps with my Raspberries & Flowers around my yard.
Good tip Scott Warren about rotating every other head 90 degrees
to get maximum coverage.
I think I found it at Home Depot – does the same but different name… Going to stop by the store across town because it states our local store doesn’t carry it.
My Impact Sprinklers work well in full circle, but the reverse function quit after a week or so. I have 4 Orbit brass Impacts and all quit in reverse.
Piscataway Bill says
Having trouble finding the yellow sprinkler…. try WaterMaster Underground 54190N Orbit Spinning Sprinkler Head- Full Circle. at Amazon.
My husband ran garden hoses to impact sprinklers mounted on post very similar to your system. We buried hoses everywhere that they had to cross grassy lawn in order to mow and not cut a hose. Then he hooked up a timer at the faucet. My question is what do you do to prepare for the winter freeze? He takes the timer off and inside for winter then tries to blow the water out of the hoses. Is there an easier way? I absolutely love all of your advice. Please keep it coming.
No, there really isn’t an easier way. Larger PVC pipe will give you more volume, but when it comes to freezing PVC isn’t very forgiving. At least garden house does give some.
Bob Reda says
Pipes burst because water expands and it has no where to go. You can try to blow out all the water you can, however there will always be some inside. The secret is to make sure that both ends of the pipe are open, so when the water does expand, there is nothing to stop it from going out or in other words, it has somewhere to go. I’ve seen 20″ lines explode from freezing.
Rick Kaleda says
Mike, I enjoy all your videos, but this one was the best. No wonder you are so successful with such good help. Thanks for the laughs.
rose macaskie says
Great advice thanks.
Big Dave says
What a precious video! Is that your gran-baby… I loved the facial expression on the chicken … Up to his neck in sand! LOL. What a truly funny video… The Mr. Hill music is great too….
So far all our grandchildren are boys. (Hoping for a girl!) That little one belongs to Amber.
Scott Warren says
H i Mike!!
I use whiz heads also. There is an area about them that you did not cover and is very important. The whiz heads have two, “supports” in the arch. These supports throw a “shadow” of no water, that is an expanding area behind each “brace”. In order to get a total coverage, you have to overlap the watering range and rotate the whiz heads 90 degrees, every other one. Maximum coverage in a 20 by 96 area takes at least 5 whiz heads, each one alternating by 90 degrees. If you do not alternate the spray pattern, they throw a shadow of no water.
Mike – would you know how these whiz head sprinklers compare to Viking sprinkler heads ? thanks,
What about rain barrels and soaker hoses? For every inch of rain off my 18×18 roof I get in excess of 60 gals. into my rain barrels and it’s FREE!
Rain barrels are great, we did a piece about rain barrels last summer.
Hey Mike! Loved your video. I have been thinking about this a lot, and you answered many questions. What do you do about mowing around these pipes? And does the PVC ever crack due to extreme cold? We get ginormous weeds on our lawn and we mow them down but our well spigot is 300 yards from our plants and between all that we have to drive our ride on mower.
PVC will crack and break if you leave any water in it. Each winter I end up making some repair. Black plastic well pipe is cheaper, more flexible and more forgiving. It will give a little. We do blow out the lines each fall. With the well pipe just make a V cut in the turf, remove the sod, lay the pipe in and put the grass back in place. It will freeze, but if you blow it out from the far end that was always enough for me.