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Smart Irrigation Controls — And Futuristic Other Technology Available Now

by Emily Durgan | Tue, Jul 01, 2014

Smart Irrigation Controls — And Futuristic Other Technology Available NowJust like, farmers are starting to use drones. But they’re not for deliveries; they’re using camera-carrying drones to inspect from the sky, looking at issues with irrigation, soil and plant health.

Your residential or commercial property probably doesn’t need a drone to manage its lawn health and water usage, but there are some new technologies making their way from farms to landscapes..

One thing they all focus on is water conservation. In a state like Florida, that’s important because of water restrictions and the need for smart water use.

July is Smart Irrigation Month — take a look at the technology that can help you water smarter.


Smart Irrigation Controls — And Futuristic Other Technology Available NowOne water-saving innovation is the microsprinkler, which operates at low pressure, still dispersing water over a wide area. These are similar to conventional sprinklers in that they come in the same spray patterns, including full, half or quarter circle, and strip patterns.

They’re sold in various flow rates, depending on your needs, spraying small to medium size water droplets. One advantage: less runoff with still-uniform coverage.

Drip Irrigation

Along with microsprinklers, drip irrigation is another way to provide a low water flow. Drip irrigation is good for shrubs and plant beds that aren’t well served by microsprinklers that might spray the tops of the plants instead of hitting closer to the plant base. Instead, the water comes out near the ground, so there’s not runoff or evaporation. You can control how long they water, too.

Rain Shut-Off Devices

Do you always shake your head when you see sprinklers going in the rain? Avoiding that is the concept behind the rain shut-off device, which automatically stops sprinklers in the presence of rain.

These devices are inexpensive and can be installed on most sprinkler controls.

Smart Controllers

Smart Irrigation Controls — And Futuristic Other Technology Available Now

The biggest advance in irrigation technology is the smart controller. With the ability to access satellite weather data and integrate local rainfall and temperatures, smart controllers help homeowners manage water usage in a whole new way. Traditionally, many landscapes are watered with the help of a timer. Smart controllers are weather and sometimes sensor-based, allowing homeowners and commercial property managers to customize watering schedules based on current conditions. Of course this leads to water use efficiencies.

You’ll find a number of systems on the market, with features that might include use of historical data, current temperature and recent rainfall. They’re often web-based, connecting through the Internet and using a computer or smartphone app for adjusting and monitoring. The systems can scale to the size of your landscaping, whether you have a small residential lawn or you’re managing a large commercial property or condo complex.

Some systems use soil sensors. Just like it sounds, these devices sense the amount of moisture in the soil and the root zone, determining whether there’s adequate moisture. The soil sensors communicate the soil status to the smart controller, providing an additional data point for the controller to consider.

Another way that homeowners and property managers can customize a smart controller system is to install one with zone controls. These zones separates out sunny and shady spots for more accurate monitoring and watering, especially helpful for large properties.

Smart controllers can be installed with a new irrigation system, or added to an existing one. The experts at GreenEarth Landscape Services can talk with you about how new technologies might help your landscaping, saving you water and making sure that your landscaping is getting just the water it needs, when it needs it. Give us a call at our Panama City Beach office at (850) 236-1959, or our Santa Rosa Beach office at (850) 267-0010 to set up an appointment. You can also fill out the online form on our website to schedule a consultation.

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Image credits: Sprinkler, microsprinklers, rain sensor

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