The heat and lack of rain is putting a strain on many homeowners’ sprinkler systems as they struggle to keep their lawns green. And that’s keeping landscaping companies busy responding to repair broken systems.

Bob Millar, of Hilltop Landscaping in Avalon, was responding to what was likely his last call of the day at about 7 p.m. Tuesday in Upper Township.

“We’ve been getting more frequent calls for about a week or so,” Millar said.

Joe Hamilton, owner of All Seasons Landscaping in Wildwood, said his business has been getting nonstop phone calls for about a week from people in need of sprinkler repairs.

“In other years, you would have some rain coming through in the evening, and if your sprinkler wasn’t operating at 100 percent, it wasn’t a problem,” Hamilton said. “This year, if it’s not operating at 100 percent, you’ve got a problem.”

Without rain, the sprinkler systems have become the only defense homeowners have against losing their green lawns.

Joe Delvescio, 59, of the Palermo section of Upper Township, recently began watering his lawn to keep it as green as possible.

“I just started watering it twice a day,” Delvescio said. “In the last week, I’ve increased (the watering time) by 20 minutes.”

State agricultural extension centers say the best time to water lawns is early morning and later in the evening, and on Tuesday, the state Department of Environmental Protection asked New Jersey residents to voluntarily start conserving water.

The state has not put any restrictions on water use, saying there’s still a plentiful supply after the wet spring and winter. But June’s rainfall for the region was just 1.71 inches, nearly an inch less than the normal average of 2.66 inches, according to AccuWeather. No measurable rain has fallen so far this month.

The lack of recent rainfall coupled with excessive heat means that the grass is experiencing two kinds of trauma. Hamilton said the sprinklers are the only things keeping the lawns in the region looking green at all. Even if sprinklers are used early in the morning, Hamilton said the heat evaporates the water right away, thus not giving the lawn enough time to soak in the water it needs.

While the repairs are keeping him busy, he’s not getting a lot of calls for irrigation systems. Hamilton said that’s due to the economy and people not willing to spend the money.

“The irrigation systems require a lot of upkeep,” Hamilton said.

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