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Water Awareness Month: Rule the Yard Auto-Magically

11 April 2011  
Technology brings gardening savvy.

wateronbladesgrassWouldn't it be nice to have a machine that knew when it was time to water your landscape? But wait there's more - this machine would turn on your irrigation system accordingly! What a dream come true! Smart Controllers use historic weather data, soil or evaporation sensors to gauge when it is time to water. Don't you love technology?

• Approximately 2/3 of water used by households is for watering the landscape, yet much of that water is wasted due to overwatering. This is because we don’t always adjust our irrigation schedules based on the season and many irrigation controllers (timers) don’t adjust automatically for changing weather conditions. But “smart” controllers adjust automatically! For more information, check out the Arizona Department of Water Resources website.

  • A smart irrigation controller can save 20-40% of the water applied outdoors by matching the watering schedule for your landscape needs to actual weather conditions.
  • Use the manual option on your watering controller and then check for geysers and other water-wasting problems
  • Add a rain sensor so plants aren’t watered when it’s raining.
  • Make sure your controller lets you run stations on different schedules, e.g. every third day, once a week, twice a month or once a month.
  • Since drip emitters deliver 2 gallons per hour or less, select a controller that can run stations for at least two hours. A mature tree may need up to 6 hours.
  • The timer you get should be able to go at least 14 days between waterings; desert- adapted plants can go 28 to 30 days in between waterings!
  • If you don't want to DIY, work with a landscape professional who is experienced with both your regions' irrigation needs and with smart controllers.



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