5 top tips to get your garden ready27 September 2016
Get your garden ready for summer with these smart irrigation tips with Commercial Irrigation Development Manager, Michael Reid.
1. Water Supply.
Water and pressure is the key ingredient to ensuring your irrigation system is as efficient as possible. Follow these steps to make sure everything is in working order:
- Do a quick sprinkler count and have a look at the nozzles.
- Go through your sprinkler charts to work out how much water is actually required.
- Go to the nearest tap, remove all the hoses and turn tap on full. Time how long it takes to fill a 10-litre bucket - 10 x 60 / time it took (say 12 seconds) = 50 litres per minute. Take 20% off to give you 37.50 litres of available water. If you have too many sprinklers on the line contact a Reece Irrigation branch to help.
2. Solenoid Valves
These are one of the main devices allowing automatic irrigation, but if they aren’t working they can be one of the major reasons why the landscape starts to fail. To check if the valves are working:
- Turn the valve on manually via a bleed screw or lever to see if the valve works okay hydraulically. If not isolate the valve from the water supply and remove the bonnet to check for debris caught in the water ports or underneath the main solenoid.
- Turn on the valve via the irrigation timer or controller and see if this works okay. If not, use the controller functions built-in under TESTs or MULTIMETER to view what is happening electrically.
Sprinkler inefficiencies can occur due to over-pressure causing the sprays to mist and blow away to your neighbours landscape or operating outside of manufacturers specifications. Here are some tips to ensure your sprinklers are running efficiently:
- Look at installing pressure regulators or PRS (pressure regulated stem) type pop-ups.
- Check the sprinklers are all straight and have not been pushed or angled over by the lawn mower or general ground movement, as this will distort the way the water is distributed.
- Raise or lower popups back to grade level as if they are too low the spray is watering underneath the soil and if too high it is only a matter of time for the lawnmower. Change nozzles if not performing as they once did due to normal wear and tear, check for damaged nozzles and for any blockages.
Over the years the irrigation timer can sometimes get forgotten. A simple on/off is easier to manage until you get your first water bill of the season. Follow these steps to save water and keep your garden beautiful:
- Change start times to early morning to reduce evaporation, as soil is not as hot in the morning. Plants react faster and begin to use this water straight away and can reduce mould and mildew so the root system is not sitting in water overnight.
- Look at the frequency of watering and try to reduce water days and increase run time duration to promote a deeper watering, forcing them to “dig a little deeper” which helps in the longer drier spells.
- Use the Monthly Adjust % on the Timer to set all months to a varying watering run time based on the normal data we know of summer, spring and autumn if you don’t have a weather based irrigation controller.
- Make sure you have a rain sensor installed. Wireless rain sensors are widely available with some of the better ones having 400m distance and take less than five minutes to install.
5. Get Connected
Our team endeavor to bring the latest technology to the market. Here is one coming soon to Reece Irrigation:
- Skydrop – A smart controller that connects to your Wi-Fi to allow remote operation and programming via your smart phone. This controller has the added benefit of using weather data to make watering decisions on frequency and run times automatically based on predictive weather.
For more information, check out www.reece.com.au/irrigation