Programming an irrigation controller is more than just setting the clock for specific watering times. It’s all about organization, such as taking notice of each station’s conditions before setting the watering schedule. Therefore, landscapers must understand the chosen irrigation system in its entirety to ensure every zone is properly watered. This will help tremendously when it is time to program the system’s controller.
Steve Springer, vice president of marketing for Rain Master, says landscapers should first collect information for each station. According to Springer, lack of documentation for zones is one of the most common problems landscapers encounter when programming a controller.
Instead of having adequate information for each site, such as which sites are on a slope or are flat or which have mostly grass, plants, shrubs, etc., landscapers may just enter one set of information and apply it to all of the areas to be watered.
This can cause major problems with runoff in some areas and lack of water in others.
The easiest way to fix this issue is to create a checklist for each zone that will be watered, or use a site map with notations for each zone. “If you don’t know the basics of the irrigation system and you don’t have each zone documented correctly, the system is never going to water efficiently,” Springer warns.
Dominic Shows, national sales manager for Alex-Tronix, says landscapers should pay attention to changing seasons and weather conditions and adjust the time of day that watering occurs accordingly. “These modifications are important especially in the cooler months for water conservation,” Shows says. “Most of the wasted landscape irrigation occurs in the fall, winter and spring months when summer schedules are not adjusted for cooler weather.”