Here are some of the reasons why people become disillusioned with irrigation systems:
1. Old Controllers – Rotary telephones are pretty hard to come by these days. Does your cell phone still flip? Irrigation controllers that are older than five years are not using the latest technology. To obtain efficiencies in irrigation technology you must be using the latest irrigation controller.
2. Runoff – once water starts to sheet flow, all flow freely from the landscape onto impervious surfaces like sidewalks, driveways and roadways, the soil has reached a saturation point and can no longer absorb any further irrigation. The amount of time that it takes for the sheet flow to occur depends on the following factors:
b. nozzle type
c. head type
d. soil type
f. frequency of irrigation
g. volume of water per irrigation event
3. Misting – also known as aerosolization, is a result of high pressure and as much as 50% of the water is evaporating into the atmosphere before it can get to the landscape. Misting is affected by relative humidity and wind.
4. Irrigating when raining – if it is raining for more than 10 min. your irrigation should be turned off. There are numerous automatic shutoff devices sold in the marketplace. Sarasota and Manatee counties have a mandate that all irrigation controllers must be installed with the automatic shutoff device.
5. Broken heads – at a minimum, a broken nozzle will emit 4 gallons per minute. If a zone is operational for 10 min., 40 gallons of water will be wasted. If the zone is operational for three times per week, I hundred and 20 gallons of water will be wasted. The average consumer in America uses approximately 120 gallons of water per day.
6. Shrubs blocking spray patterns – during the establishment period of a landscape, plant material are usually small or young. As the landscape matures and grows into the desired design intent, the irrigation coverage becomes compromised. A plant interfering with a designated spray pattern may mean higher concentrations of water in one area and a “rain shadow” in another area of the landscape.
7. Leaking valves – sand, rocks and small debris in and irrigation system can impact the operation of a valve. Typically, valves do not fully shut when debris is interfering with the diaphragm. These are “invisible” leaks where just enough water gets through the valve to the lowest head and oozes out at approximately half a gallon per minute, 30 gallons per hour, 720 gallons per day, 5040 gallons per week!
Here are some recommendations that Grant’s Gardens, Inc. would make when encountering some or all of the above irrigation “headaches”!
Grant’s Gardens recommends the following to remedy ailing or out of date irrigation systems:
Upgrading controllers to smart technology to accurately determine how much water a specific plant in a landscape requires.
Use a cycle-and-soak feature on the new smart irrigation controller so that zones run for a short amount of time, but may run more than once per watering cycle.
Install a pressure ridge use on the mainline to control the pressure. When renovating or installing a new irrigation system always use pressure regulating heads for better control of pressure. Always remember that water pressure at the bottom of the hill
Install a rain sensor or an in-ground soil moisture sensor.
Install a flow-meter along with the smart irrigation controller. If you have the right technology, the system will bypass the zone with the broken head and send a message to your smart phone to let you know that there is a problem!
If mature plant material is interfering with a spray pattern, and the head is next to a building, Grant’s Gardens, Inc. may be able to change their head to a fixed riser. A conversion to drip may also be possible all, if the plant material is well-established and is in an area with ample rainfall, a well-established shrub bed may be able to be weaned off of irrigation.
Often valves in the landscape need to be taken apart and serviced by a professional. Leaking valves are an indication that the irrigation system is not being serviced proactively.
If you are dissatisfied with your current irrigation system contact Grants Gardens and we will be happy to design and install a custom irrigation system that will perform well without headaches. We also can repair or upgrade current systems to bring them into top performance.