By Chad Keller
August is Smart Irrigation Month, and the end of summer is a great time to improve the efficiency of your outdoor irrigation system or install a water-efficient automatic irrigation system. There are many “smart” technologies available today that allow you to maintain beautiful landscapes while maximizing water efficiency. Here are some things to consider whether you do it yourself or through a professional contractor.
Rain sensors prevent irrigation systems from running when it is raining or right after a storm, when irrigation is unnecessary. Rain/freeze sensors add the ability to stop irrigation when temperatures approach freezing to prevent ice on landscapes and hardscapes. These devices can reduce irrigation water usage up to 35 percent and help extend irrigation system life. Sprinkler systems should never run in the rain, and rain sensors can put an end to those wasteful and embarrassing situations.
Weather-based controllers actually adjust irrigation schedules based on local weather conditions. These climate-based systems gather local weather information and some even factor in your exact landscape (types of plants, soils, slopes, etc.) to make irrigation run-time adjustments so your landscape always receives the appropriate amount of water. There is a wide range of products in this category with various weather input options and landscape-specific adjustment factors. The water savings can be substantial and the convenience of these self-adjusting controllers is another great benefit.
Sensor-based controllers rely on soil moisture sensors placed below ground in the root zones of lawns and landscapes to determine if and how long to water. Soils may be maintained between lower and upper target moisture levels for optimal plant health. Alternatively, a simpler decision is to schedule the regular irrigation program to run based on the soil moisture. Weather-based and sensor-based control products are available as stand-alone controllers or add-on devices to existing controllers. Each has been shown to reduce irrigation water usage up to 70 percent without sacrificing the quality of your landscaping.
Drip irrigation systems are very different from pop-up sprinkler systems. Rather than spraying wide areas, they generally utilize point emitters to deliver desired volumes of water to particular locations at or near plant root zones. Water drips slowly from emitters either onto the soil surface or below ground. Less water is lost to wind and evaporation as a result, and weeds can also be reduced. Drip irrigation systems are very water-efficient and customizable for even different plants in a small area.
All of these water-efficient products can reduce water use and your water bills without sacrificing plant and landscape health. You can still enjoy all of the benefits associated with attractive and enjoyable landscapes on your property while helping to conserve a precious natural resource. Please take advantage of these cost-saving ideas that are good for you and good for the planet.
As owner of Precision Landscapes, Chad’s vision is to consistently provide the best landscape services and customer experience in Northeast Georgia. Chad has many notable projects to his credit such as the installation of Bolton Dining Commons at UGA, Shakerag Park, & numerous residential estates throughout the state. He grew up in Oconee County & in his free time, he enjoys boating, traveling, football Saturdays and spending quality time with his wife Nina Keller and his two dogs Aspen and Breck.