Ex­pert ad­vice on land­scape ir­ri­ga­tion

Alberta Gardener Magazine - - Contents - By Gor­don Galay

Pic­ture this: it’s a beau­ti­ful and sunny Satur­day morn­ing as you re­view this week­end’s very large to do list while hav­ing your morn­ing cof­fee. 1) Fin­ish kids play struc­ture 2) Clean garage 3) Paint closet door 4) Wash the car 5) Fin­ish the re­port that’s due Mon­day 6) Wa­ter ev­ery­thing (if have time)!! Since there is also a din­ner func­tion to at­tend later this af­ter­noon, you better start gath­er­ing the tools you will need. As you walk from the house to the garage, you can hear the dry grass crunch­ing un­der your feet and you are re­minded that it has not rained in ap­prox­i­mately two weeks. All the trees, shrubs and grass that you paid a for­tune for last year are not look­ing very healthy, and the grass is al­most com­pletely brown. Your stress level builds as you try to fig­ure out how to ful­fill your prom­ise to the kids to spend some time by the pool with them, find the time for ev­ery­thing on your list, plus find the time to keep mov­ing a gar­den hose and sprin­kler around the yard all day to save your in­vest­ment. Argh­hhh !!!!

As you grudg­ingly pull the hose and sprin­kler to the far cor­ner of your lawn, you can­not help but no­tice that your neigh­bor’s yard seems to be look­ing lush and trop­i­cal com­pared to yours. All their plants are full and thriv­ing, and the grass is healthy and green. How do they do it? In fact, you have never seen them wa­ter?!

Call it a hunch, but this sce­nario likely plays out in the minds of thou­sands of home­own­ers ev­ery sum­mer. Our lives are in­cred­i­bly busy, and as we learn how pre­cious time is, we be­come more con­sci­en­tious about how we want to spend it, es­pe­cially on the week­ends. Benefits of an in­ground au­to­matic ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem

Hav­ing and main­tain­ing a beau­ti­ful yard and lawn re­quires sig­nif­i­cant main­te­nance and wa­ter­ing on the part of the home­owner. The first and most im­por­tant ben­e­fit of own­ing an in­ground au­to­matic ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem is that it will save you count­less hours of main­te­nance for your yard.

Even if you did have the lux­ury of time to wa­ter ev­ery­thing dur­ing the day, wa­ter­ing dur­ing the hottest part of the day is not the best as it can dam­age the fo­liage or flow­ers of some plants. Be­cause au­to­mated ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tems can be pro­grammed to wa­ter when­ever you want, the timer is usu­ally set to be­gin its wa­ter­ing cycle in the early morn­ing hours. Most land­scape com­pa­nies will help you to man­age and main­tain your sys­tem. They will of­ten pro­gram the wa­ter­ing cycle to be­gin be­tween 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. de­pend­ing on how large the sys­tem is and how long it will take to com­plete a full cycle. Not only is this when your plants pre­fer to be wa­tered, but it is also when you will lose the least amount of wa­ter through evap­o­ra­tion. In a day and age where most cities, towns and even ru­ral mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are im­pos­ing wa­ter­ing re­stric­tions on times and days you can wa­ter your lawn, this ben­e­fit be­comes even more rel­e­vant.

An au­to­matic rain sen­sor added to your con­troller in­creases the ef­fi­ciency of your sys­tem by telling the con­troller not to wa­ter dur­ing pe­ri­ods of rain. Of­ten a rain sen­sor is looked at as an op­tional item when get­ting quotes on a sys­tem, but it shouldn’t be. With wa­ter waste be­com­ing a grow­ing con­cern, it is im­por­tant to add a rain sen­sor to your sys­tem.

An ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem will save you time and wa­ter. If wa­ter costs money and time equals money, the eco­nomic benefits ex­plain them­selves. But, a sprin­kler sys­tem has an eco­nomic value beyond these two items.

A prop­erly in­stalled sprin­kler sys­tem is con­sid­ered an as­set when buy­ing or sell­ing a home. The sell­ing price of a home goes up more than the cost of the sys­tem be­cause now po­ten­tial buy­ers don’t have to fuss with get­ting one in­stalled — to a po­ten­tial buyer that adds value.

And don’t for­get, even though the sprin­kler sys­tem is hid­den from view dur­ing the day, at night it is work­ing and help­ing to keep your yard and prop­erty look­ing beau­ti­ful, adding curb ap­peal. It is no se­cret that curb ap­peal adds dol­lars to the value of prop­erty. The ac­tual dol­lar value it adds will vary from prop­erty to prop­erty de­pend­ing upon sev­eral fac­tors. Real Es­tate com­pa­nies and land­scap­ers of­ten ob­serve that curb ap­peal adds a much larger dol­lar value to a prop­erty than most peo­ple think. It helps your yard stand out from oth­ers on your street that might not be as pretty and well main­tained. An ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem plays a vi­tal role in achiev­ing this.

Healthy lawns

Another im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion that is of­ten over­looked is that a healthy lawn is also more likely to have fewer weeds and be more re­sis­tant to var­i­ous pests and dis­eases. A thick and healthy lawn chokes out weeds and does not al­low un­de­sired plants to get es­tab­lished. This is more im­por­tant than ever now that tra­di­tional meth­ods of weed con­trol, such as spray­ing

with chem­i­cals have been banned in most prov­inces and states across North America. The 2-step, 3-step, and 4-step weed con­trol pro­grams of yes­ter­day are be­ing re­placed with turf man­age­ment pro­grams where there is more em­pha­sis placed on main­tain­ing a strong and healthy lawn. A prop­erly in­stalled ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem plays a cru­cial role in a com­pre­hen­sive turf man­age­ment pro­gram.

Choos­ing an in­staller

Re­mem­ber that all your plants, trees and shrubs will have dif­fer­ent wa­ter­ing re­quire­ments from your grass. This is re­ferred to as pre­cip­i­ta­tion rates. Your beds and berms where your plants, trees, and shrubs might be lo­cated will have dif­fer­ent zones from the lawn so they can be wa­tered sep­a­rately and set up in­de­pen­dently on your timer or con­troller. Of­ten these zones will have dif­fer­ent types of heads and spray pat­terns than those that are used for the lawn.

A good con­trac­tor will be able to ex­plain and ed­u­cate you fur­ther on these benefits and op­tions for your yard. Al­ways fol­low the same ba­sic rules when choos­ing an in­staller such as rep­u­ta­tion, ex­pe­ri­ence, and help­ful­ness. You will want to like the con­trac­tor as you will most likely have a work­ing re­la­tion­ship with them for many years. The sprin­kler sys­tem will re­quire an­nual ser­vice such as a spring start-up to en­sure all is work­ing prop­erly and a fall blowout be­fore win­ter freeze to en­sure all wa­ter is blown out of the lines and heads to pre­vent dam­age to your sys­tem and costly re­pairs. Happy wa­ter­ing!.

Our ex­pert, Gor­don Galay is the owner and op­er­a­tor of Galay Land­scap­ing in Man­i­toba. A mem­ber of the Man­i­toba Land­scape As­so­ci­a­tion, his com­pany, has been the re­cip­i­ent of nu­mer­ous awards, in­clud­ing the Award of Ex­cel­lence for qual­ity con­struc­tion and de­sign from MBNLA (Man­i­toba Nurs­ery Land­scape As­so­ci­a­tion). For more information visit galay­land­scap­ing.com or email [email protected]­land­scap­ing.com

The in­stal­la­tion of ir­ri­ga­tion pipes is best done by pro­fes­sion­als.

Haul­ing the hose around is a de­mand­ing busi­ness.

An au­to­mated rain sen­sor helps save wa­ter and money.

There are many benefits of an au­to­matic sprin­kler sys­tem, but most of all it will make your life eas­ier.

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