I was asked by irrigation contractor Vinny Catoggio to test a new irrigation technology product on a recent project of mine. It’s called the Hunter Solar Sync by Hunter Industries. This device is connected to your Hunter sprinkler controller and will automatically adjust the watering based on changes in the weather. By using sensors built into a module that sits out in the open (Vinny mounted it on the rain gutter), the device gathers information on the amount of sun and the temperatures we’re getting. The resulting data is called evapotranspiration or ET. Simply put, this is the rate at which plants and grass use water. Using this data the device will automatically increase or decrease how long each sprinkler zone will run.
I say could be because for both Vinny and I this is a test. He’s setting it up on a few sites (including his own home) to see how the Hunter Solar Sync performs over a period of time and seasonal changes. I’m going to be visiting my project site with some regularity and will monitor its performance too.
Typically I have the sprinkler controller mounted on the outside vs. in the garage or house. This helps the irrigation service people because they don’t have to rely on the customer being home. But for me it’s a major advantage in that I can make unscheduled visits to the property and adjust the controller as needed.
Irrigation is a key ingredient to a successful landscape, but to be successful and efficient it must have to components: 1) Proper design, and that’s a topic unto itself and 2) Seasonal & Climatic adjustments during the year. Beyond the obvious that a landscape has different water requirements in April and July and October, conditions such as rainfall, soil type, grades and plant varieties equally play into the formula. So any device that helps monitor and adjust to any of these variables is a plus in my book, but it has to do it well and consistently. Maybe the Hunter Solar Sync is such a device.