About Me

Loving Your Little Landscape

I have never been a natural gardener. For years, I struggled to keep basic houseplants alive, only to kill them at the first opportunity. It was difficult and stressful to buy a home with a yard, but I knew that I might be able to learn what I was doing wrong and correct the problem. To start off, I focused heavily on the lawn, and tried hard to keep it trimmed and well-maintained. Next, I cleaned up the flowerbeds. It was a lot of work, but I knew that it would pay off in the end. When I was done, my front yard was gorgeous, and guess what--it even stayed alive. This blog is all about loving your little landscape.



Loving Your Little Landscape

Troubleshooting A Failed Sprinkler Emitter

by Charlotte White

A malfunctioning automatic sprinkler system can lead to dead grass and wasted water. If an emitter isn't working, this troubleshooting guide may help.

Signs of Failed Emitter

Your lawn often provides the first hint that something is wrong, especially if your sprinkler is set to run when you are still in bed or after you have left your house for the day. If an emitter has failed completely so no water comes out, then the grass around the emitter will be dry and brown compared to the rest of the lawn. In some cases, the emitter may be spraying the wrong direction, so you may notice moisture and damp behind the emitter, such as in the street, but your lawn will be dry.

Some types of failure result in water pouring out of the broken emitter, sometimes into the air like a fountain. When this happens the grass around the affected emitter will be too wet and the ground may feel soft and marshy. Emitters up the line from the broken one may not spray at all because all of the water is flowing out of the broken one, so their sections of the yard will be dry and brown.

Causes of Failure

A stuck or misaligned emitter is often the cause of a failure to spray. Soil and debris can fall on top of the emitter and prevent it from popping up. Emitters can also become misaligned over time, which means they spray in the wrong direction. Other issues that can reduce spray are broken pressure regulator valves or a leak in the water line attached to the sprinkler. When the issue is a leak, no sprinklers on that water line will work properly.

When the issue is with a fountain-like spray of water, you can be assured the emitter is broken completely. Water is simply flowing out of an opening in the line where a working emitter should be. Freezing can bust emitters like this, as can driving over them or hitting them with a lawnmower blade.


The first task is to make sure the emitter isn't blocked by soil and debris, so finding it and cleaning out the emitter well is in order. Next, adjust the emitter so it is aligned properly. If your emitter is broken completely, such as jammed so it can't pop up and spray or broken off and producing a fountain, then replacement of the emitter is an inexpensive and simple solution.

Pressure valve and leak issues require a professional. They will inspect the sprinkler line to determine the problem then repair any leaks and replace any failed valves.

Contact a sprinkler service in your area for more assistance if you think an emitter has failed.

To learn more, contact a company like A Ronnow Lawn Sprinkler, Inc.