Posted on June 15th, 2021
Smart irrigation has become something of a ‘no-brainer’ when it comes to caring for your garden and its plants. Technology is changing our lives in so many positive ways, and when it comes to the introduction of smart irrigation to our gardens and our lawns, this is something that Turf Unlimited is happy to embrace.
In this post we’ll take a closer look at smart irrigation systems, what makes them smart, and how they work. So if you’re thinking about buying a smart irrigation system, or simply want to learn more about them, read on.
Two words: water wastage. The EPA reckons that as much as half of the water that Americans are using for outdoor irrigation is going to waste. This not only costs the environment, but it will cost you in the long run too.
Just as we are now using smart technology for energy-saving devices on our water heaters and home appliances, smart irrigation affords us the same peace of mind that we are doing what is best for ourselves and the environment.
Smart irrigation is not only responsible; it is also sustainable – ensuring that your plants and your lawn get water when they are needed.
Smart irrigation takes your traditional drip irrigation system, which operates on a programmed schedule and uses a timer (think analog), and modernizes it by monitoring actual on-site weather conditions (think digital).
This allows for a watering schedule that can automatically adjust if the technology picks up that the soil is too dry or that heavy rains are predicted. Soil moisture sensors irrigation is at the forefront of this technology, with stationary or portable devices (handheld probes). Just as you wouldn’t water your garden in the midday heat due to evaporation, soil moisture sensors will let you know in advance if the soil is thirsty for water – so you don’t end up wasting any water.
Information about the wellbeing of your soil is sent by moisture sensors in the ground to actuators, along with any pre-programmed information you’ll want to include in the specifics of your outdoor irrigation plan.
Actuators are the part of an irrigation system that helps it achieve physical movement – for example, activating the spray nozzles – by converting energy (in this case, solar energy) into mechanical force.
Gone are the days of setting your sprinkler system in the toolshed at the bottom of the garden and then having to race through a maze of fast protruding sprinkler heads that are hellbent on soaking you before you make it to the safety of your home!
Now you can simply program pathways so that certain areas of your smart irrigation system work in unison with others, and you can also define the moisture range and set your own temperature. Your trusted lawn care specialists at Turf Unlimited can help with installation and setting the right parameters for your specific outdoor irrigation needs.
Smart irrigation technology includes everything from surface irrigation to sub-irrigation, central pivot, and lateral move irrigation to drip irrigation. The right drip irrigation system requires careful consideration of your soil’s moisture level and surrounding factors that may come into play. For example, you may have a pond near your garden that causes excessive seepage to one part of your lawn.
A weather-based irrigation system monitors the temperature, rainfall, and solar radiation on your property. A moisture-based system measures the soil’s actual moisture content – and then adjusts the timing of your next irrigation accordingly. These are the two main types of smart irrigation systems out there.
When it comes to soil moisture sensors, there are so many on the market that customer caution is strongly advised. Low-end moisture sensors are not only quite flimsy, but they can be wildly inaccurate too. It’s best to seek the advice of your trusted lawn care specialists at Turf Unlimited before wasting your hard-earned money shopping online.
The Rachio 3 is a great example of a smart sprinkler controller on the market that works well with Wifi and integrates well with almost all smart devices. It’s also really simple to use.
Spray nozzles aren’t strictly speaking smart irrigation insofar you don’t need an app to handle your garden hose! But getting the right, adjustable spray nozzle is absolutely crucial when it comes to saving water and saving your delicate flowers. You might want a spray nozzle with a pistol grip and a variety of settings or something with a longer stem for tall, hanging plants.
There are many factors that come into play when thinking about taking your drip irrigation system to the next level with a smart irrigation system that will work for you. Of course, you need to consider your financial outlay, as well as the health of your plants and the costs that you will recover in the long run by saving on water.
If you don’t have a well-designed system, then there’s really no point in having the latest sprinkler heads. Once it’s been thought through and carefully planned, installing your system will also save you endless trips to your garden depot.
Avoid mistakes like shoving the stake of a soil moisture sensor into the ground and puncturing an underground watering hose by calling in professionals. Turf Unlimited is the preferred lawn care professional in the Northern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire area. Contact us today for a free quote for all your smart irrigation must-haves.