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Florida Water Star Technical Manual

Irrigation system criteria

Sprinkler clearance above turf

Sprinkler clearance above turf.

Distribution (application) uniformity

Sprinkler clearance


Sprinkler water application can be altered when sprinkler heads are unable to rise above the turf grass. When application is obstructed, distribution of water is increased in areas adjacent to the sprinkler head and areas further away receive less water. Sprinklers that do not clear turf grass are another cause of reduced distribution uniformity, which can significantly diminish plant vitality.

Requirements and certification

Sprinklers rise above turf grass height:

  • A minimum of 6-inch pop-up sprinkler heads and 4-inch pop-up rotor heads for St. Augustine, Zoysia and Bahia grasses
  • A minimum of 4-inch pop-up sprinkler heads and 4-inch pop-up rotor heads for centipede, Bermuda and seashore paspalum







The criteria listed above are required as a minimum standard. When circumstances require longer sprinkler heads, the designer or installer should make necessary changes. In some cases, actual sprinkler head height might not be the primary problem if soils have settled or if turf grass has been installed incorrectly.

The Inspector must visually inspect for this prerequisite while each zone is running.

Sprinkler Clearance Diagram

Sprinkler rising above turf grass during system operation.

Program tip

The correct installation of any sprinkler head requires that the head be perpendicular to the ground surface as well as the head being level. These additional steps will further increase efficiency.

St. Johns River Water Management District
4049 Reid Street, Palatka, FL 32177