How to Protect Sprinkler Heads in 2 Effective Ways

Are you one of the persons that replace their sprinkler heads from time to time because of damages from lawn mowers and garden tractors? There’s a high chance that you’re not protecting the head very well. So in this guide, you’ll learn exactly how to protect sprinkler heads properly so that you never expose them to damages again.


Replacing a sprinkler head isn’t difficult at all. They’re cheap, costing between $10 and $20 per head. You could just replace one the moment you learn that it’s faulty. However, buying a sprinkler head from time to time doesn’t make much sense even for someone who isn’t on a budget.

The best approach is to learn how you can protect each sprinkler head in your yard so that it keeps working for longer. By protecting your sprinkler head, you’ll not have to worry about frequent replacement but get the most out of what you already have.

How to Protect Sprinkler Heads

1. Keep Grass from Growing Over Your Sprinkler Heads

There are three effective ways to keep grass from growing over your sprinkler heads. You can use sprinkler guards, herbicides, or plastic mulch.

These solutions are not only good at what they do, but also they require minimal maintenance.

1. Sprinkler Guards

Also known as head guards, sprinkle guards, which come in an array of colors to match grass, are made of concrete, rubber, or plastic, with the concrete models rated as the most effective in keeping grass from growing over sprinkler heads.

  • Use a measuring tape to determine the diameter of your sprinkler head, and then buy a sprinkler guard of that particular size. There aren’t strict specifics on the type of material used to make the guard, so you will have to make a personal choice in this case.
  • Thread a guard over each sprinkler head, making sure you dust the perimeter with a chalk
  • Remove the guard and use a garden trowel to dig up the grass between the sprinkler head and the chalk to make an area that the guard will cover.
  • Lastly make the soil in the dug area a little moist, place the guard on the head, and then push it firmly to the ground

2. Plastic Mulch

Plastic mulch is an ideal option for keeping grass from your sprinkler heads because it prevents light from reaching the surrounding grass, making it difficult for photosynthesis to take place.

  • First, use a garden trowel to dig up grass at least 2 inches around a sprinkler head. Add topsoil to the area and tamp down a bit. 
  • With the trowel about 3 inches deep in the ground where you removed the turf, make a complete circle to create a space where the plastic mulch will sit.
  • Use a measuring tape to get the diameter of the trench line around the sprinkler head and the head’s cap.
  • Now us a pair of scissors or a knife to cut a circle out of the plastic mulch, keeping the diameter 6 inches larger than that of the trench. The center of the circle should have a 1/4 inch smaller the diameter of the head cap of the sprinkler.
  • With the head cap unscrewed half a turn, thread the plastic mulch around the head, tuck its center under cap, and then tighten to secure the plastic mulch to the ground
  • Finalize by tucking the outside of the plastic mulch 3 inches in the trench

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How to Protect Sprinkler Heads

3. Use Certain Herbicides

You can also use certain herbicides to keep grass from growing around your sprinkler heads. Solutions such as sethoxydim are quite effective because they help to kill grass through systemic action.

  • You don’t want your sprinkler head to make contact with the herbicide. So cover it well with a plastic bag secured with a rubber band.
  • Use a pair of scissors to make a hole in a garbage bag, making sure it’s about the same size the area on which you’d like to kill grass.
  • Add a tablespoon of concentrated crop and a tablespoon of herbicide in a gallon of water. Add the mixture in a plastic pray bottle, and shake well.
  • Place the garbage bag on the ground over your sprinkler head. This is important because it helps you to make sure that you have access only to the area where you would like to have the grass removed.
  • Now spray the herbicide on the grass around the sprinkler head. You should then wait for at most 21 days for the grass to die out on its own. 

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2. Use an Automatic Drain Valve

Designed to go between parts of the pipeline and a sprinkler head, automatic drain valves ensure water drains back the system isn’t running. Since the system doesn’t have full water, it won’t break in freezing weather.

Given that they take away the need to drain the system manually, automatic drain valves are definitely a must-have.

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Toro 53740 1/2-inch Sprinkler System Drain valve

Toro drain valve is a good option to consider. We love this model because it opens and closes on its own, not to mention that it can work with any irrigation system.

Ideal for new and replacement installation, the Toro 53740 is the automatic drain valve to get if you want to keep your pipes from freezing.

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Orbit WaterMaster Underground 51240 Drain Valve

The orbit drain valve is also good, but it’s only suitable for use with cold water.

Cheap doesn’t mean flimsy and this one is proof of that statement. It keeps water from freezing, making it a good option to consider if you live in an area where the ground freezes a lot.

We do like how well they drain the line when there’s no pressure, hence keeping the performance of a sprinkler head up to par. 

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As you can see, it isn’t hard to protect your sprinkler head and it’s better to do so than to keep buying new ones every time the current ones become faulty.

Even if you’ve convinced yourself that they are not difficult to replace, we think it’s better to keep them from damage and save yourself the frustration. 


  • Ricky

    Hi, I’m Ricky. I’ve been involved in lawn care and landscaping from when I was 15. To be honest, I didn’t like the idea of pushing mowers, collecting grass clippings, and maintaining flowerbeds at the time. But having seem the passion my parents had for gardening and outdoors and the effort they put in maintaining the health and beauty of our landscape, I couldn’t help but not only admire their hard work but also I became a part of it. As someone who loves to spend time with nature’s best, I find myself learning a lot more about gardening and outdoors on a daily basis. Not to mention I love to share the knowledge I’ve gathered over the years with my readers at We Mow Dallas. To be clear, I don’t have a Master’s degree in gardening or anything like that. Everything I’ve learned about gardening, landscaping, and lawn care spring from passion and engagement with my parents. And with a ton of free information out there, plus the ability to run tests and determine what works best for lawn care and landscaping, every day is an opportunity to learn and implement something new. My goal with We Mow Dallas is to teach you exactly how to maintain your lawn and landscape. And since I walk the talk in reality, you shouldn’t hesitate to join me in this wonderful world of landscaping and lawn care. K Beatrice

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