Central Turf & Irrigation Supply

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Hot Weather Watering Tips: Tuning Controllers

Hot weather can quickly turn lush green lawns into blotchy areas of stressed turf. You can stay ahead of summer stress and keep customers lawns looking their best by adjusting controllers proactively.

Many professional irrigation contractors now include at least one "summer check up" as part of their service contracts.

What tricks can you use to fine tune controller programs during summer service visits?

Rain Bird recommends the Triple-A approach:

Anticipate-Adjust-Achieve

ANTICIPATE.

Forecast seasonal weather changes. Obtain historical ET (evapotranspiration) data for your area and mark your calendar. Examine the data and set a scheduling interval. The greatest water savings occur from monthly programming adjustments.

  • Know when to "PEAK UP". Don't play catch-up with hot weather. Prevention of dry spots conserves more water than reacting too late, attempting to make up for turf stress.
  • Know when to "DIP DOWN". Anticipate cooler weather.
  • Establish schedules. Create Winter and Summer schedules and provide them to your customer or your technician. Set start(s) and run times with future water budget (%) tuning in mind. Generate the schedule during the off-season.
  • Label each zone. Note the station information on a programming worksheet. Give a copy to your customers so they're familiar with the settings for each area.
  • ADJUST.

    Modify the irrigation schedule, adding watering days or station run time prior to known peaks in temperature. Use "Water Budget" to make quick, global adjustments to your schedules. This is a fast, effective way to fine-tune the system, without the hassle of reprogramming every station.

    ACHIEVE.

    Water conservation is the most important advantage to fine-tuning. Customers appreciate detailed scheduling. It shows competence and consideration on the part of the contractor.