Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Use the Traveling Tractor Sprinkler

By Whitney Houston ; Updated July 21, 2017

The Nelson Traveling Tractor sprinkler has three wheels, rolls across the lawn along a water hose and distributes water evenly as it goes. The sprinkler features two long spray arms that spin around and propel the sprinkler. A water hose attaches at the back of the sprinkler and is pulled behind as the sprinkler passes over it. An automatic shut-off ramp marks the end of sprinkling area and stops water flow when it's reached. Before using the tractor sprinkler for the first time, you need to know how to lay out the path and activate the sprinkler.

Insert the arms into the swiveling spray head and tighten them into place. Point the arms in accordance with the watering requirements of your lawn. For example, point them down slightly to water a 15-foot area around the sprinkler as it travels; twist the arms facing up to water a 55-foot range surrounding the traveling sprinkler. Swing the spray head around once to confirm that the arms do not touch the base. If the arms touch the base tilt them up a bit, so that the sprinklers don’t stick.

Attach a 0.625-inch water hose to the water source and lay out the desired watering path. The sprinkler travels the length of the hose exactly, so lay out the hose knowing that it’s the origin point of the traveling spray. Make turns broad and smooth, so that the sprinkler stays on track. Attach the end of the hose to the traveling sprinkler with a 3-foot loop at the end to avoid kinking.

Snap the “Shut-Off” ramp onto the hose at the point you wish the traveling sprinkler to stop. Some ramps come with a spike on the bottom to better root the ramp into place. Allow 5 feet of straight hose on either side of the ramp. The sprinkler rolls over the ramp, which pushes in the stopper on the bottom of the sprinkler.

Place the sprinkler on top of the hose so that the front wheel is on top of the hose within the grooves and the back wheels are on either side of the hose. Set the speed of the sprinkler to “High,” “Low” or “Neutral.” The "High" setting renders a light watering, while the "Low" settings renders a thorough watering. “Neutral” watering stops the sprinkler and waters in one spot. Pull the stopper on the bottom of the sprinkler out and slowly turn on the faucet to begin watering.

Turn the water off after the sprinkler finishes. If you wish to layout a new path for the sprinkler and start again, the stopper on the bottom might be difficult to pull down if pressure is built up in the hose. Unscrew the hose to alleviate the pressure and try again.


About the Author


Whitney Houston began writing in 2006. Her work has been published in "BUST" and PaperDolls magazines. Houston attended St. Edward's University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in photocommunications (photography and digital imaging).