A Rain Sensor Alone Is Not The Answer
I am a nut about irrigation management on my projects for two reasons: 1) It’s just the right thing to do considering water is such a limited resource, and 2) over-watering is probably responsible for 80% of the problems we have on these landscapes.
A couple of months ago I’m monitoring a landscape we had just completed. The site would tend to stay wet and I was on a campaign to dry things out by tweaking the settings on the sprinkler system. One issue I was frustrated with was that the rain sensor would allow the system to run again too soon after a rainy period.
In a conversation with Vinny Cattogio, our irrigation contractor & consultant, he advised me that the Hunter ICC controller we were using had the capability to adjust for that. It has an advanced feature called Programmable Rain Off that allows you to stop the scheduled waterings for 1 to 7 days after a good rain. Once the number of “Rain Delay” days you specify are over, the controller resumes its normal schedule. Nice, nice feature.
Irrigating On A Slope Can Be A Challenge
Here’s another common problem with sprinkler systems and water management. It is not unusual for water to run-off a sloped area before it has a chance to soak in (where its needed). Well, Hunter’s got an answer for this one too. The advanced feature is called Cycle and Soak. With this you can take the total time programmed for a zone and break it up into shorter durations. For example, you could take a zone that has a total of 20 minutes scheduled and program it to run for 5 minutes (Cycle) and then turn off for 10 minutes (Soak). It will run like this until it reaches the 20 minutes of programmed time.
There’s a good chance other manufacturers’ controllers have these advanced features as well. Check it out because these are huge advantages in managing the irrigation and sprinkler system on your landscape.