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Is Irrigation Right for Your Property?

Maintaining your scrubs, plants, and turf in your yard can be expensive. An irrigation system can be thought of as an insurance policy for your landscape. Irrigation is an essential piece of your landscape and saves you countless hours of manual watering. In very rare occasions people’s properties hold the proper amount of water.

Even if your property is always wet due to a high water table or run off from elevated areas you can always install drainage, and then irrigate the property. A lawn or planting bed that never drains will cause the grass coverage to be thin, some shrubs and plants will actually drown, and the ever presence of water promotes disease and fungus in turf.

More often than not the land becomes dry, even in temperatures that we find the most comfortable. When talking about grass the best time to water is in the early morning hours of 3-6am. Not many people find themselves wanting to wake up at this time to turn on the hose and move the sprinkler every 30 minutes. Having an automatic irrigation system frees you up to get that well deserved rest or to take a vacation, even though you just had the lawn fertilized, seeded, or had plants installed.

Q-What if it rains and I am not home to turn my system off?

A-All irrigation systems installed by Winterberry Irrigation come with a wireless rain sensor. There is a transmitter that is mounted outside. And a receiver mounted next to the Irrigation controller that tells the controller that it is wet outside. Simple as that!

Another factor to keep in mind is the efficiency of an irrigation system as opposed to a garden hose sprinkler. Traditional garden hose sprinklers are notoriously inefficient and of course you need to move them frequently. The coverage of these sprinklers is not uniform and certain areas will be drenched and others dry. An irrigation system from Winterberry Irrigation is designed with uniformity in mind. Typically one zone, or group of sprinkler heads, will consist of 5-7 sprinklers and they are placed on the edges so they overlap each other slightly. If your yard is big enough then full circle heads will work along with your edge heads to provide complete, efficient, and over all effective coverage of your lawn. We utilize different types of sprinkler heads for different size areas so waste is minimized.

Q- The front of my property needs more water than the back and side yards but those areas do still dry out in July and August. How can I avoid overwatering these areas while making sure the front gets enough?

A- What you are describing are “hydrozones” or also referred to as micro climates. It all comes down to programming your controller properly and the initial installation being designed with these hurdles in mind. Be sure to let your designer know about these unique areas. Every time the system runs the whole property does not need to be watered. Winterberry’s skilled technicians are here to help you program these options into your controller and show you how to turn your water budget up and down depending on the weather to save you water, time, and most importantly MONEY!

Most planting beds are found along the foundation of houses. These can be a challenging area to water properly. Yes we want the plants to get watered but we also don’t want to spray the structure which can cause staining or scale buildup on the windows. They do make heads the effectively spray water in small patterns but plant growth, or the placement of new plants can block the spray from these heads causing dry spots. The most efficient way to water planting beds is almost always with Drip Irrigation. These drip tubes are not like the black hose material that “sweats”. They have emitters placed every 12 or 18 inches which will be selected by your designer based on soil type. You aren’t watering the plants themselves but managing the moisture in the soil. These tubes can be damaged by a shovel. The safest practice is to rake the mulch out of your way in the area you need to dig until you can see the tubes. They are about the diameter of your pointer finger.

Q- With the tubes under the mulch and dirt will they get clogged?

A- We use the top manufacturer,
. First, each emitter has a check valve inside of it. It’s nothing complicated, just a rubber flap that closes when the water supply is turned off. Additionally each drip system has an automatic flush valve built into it that will flush a gallon of water and any debris that may have gotten into the tube from a repair.

 

Q- I have an old sprinkler system. Can I integrate a smart controller into it and expect my landscape and usage to improve?

A- It all depends on how the system was installed and maintained. Having a Winterberry Irrigation technician perform a site evaluation will tell you if your system is right for a smart controller. If the spacing, placement, and number of sprinkler heads is not “smart” then you won’t get much advantage out of a smart controller.

With most everyone having a smart phone in their pocket that can check email and play games with people on the other side of the planet. Why shouldn’t you be able to turn on your irrigation with it as well? Well, you can! Almost every manufacturer has come out with a solution to this. Some are more sophisticated than others and vary in cost and capability. Weathermatic offers a great package that also includes flow monitoring. For instance, you could be on vacation and your new landscaper breaks a drip tube or sprinkler head. The next time your system runs, it will notice that there is high flow, shut the problem zone off, and send you, and your contractor an email about it. Your contractor could then come to your house, run your controller from his smartphone, using a secure password you create, correct your problems and re-activate the zone. This feature will help you avoid lots of wasted water and damage to your landscape. These smart controllers can also be linked to local weather stations or an on-site weather station and adjust your controller according to the local weather. Another great money saving advantage.