Some Irrigation Insights from Industry Experts

increase irrigation controller efficiency

At LECM, we talk a lot about automating your landscape maintenance. In this article, we dive into what is going through our minds as irrigation industry experts when we think of what automating your irrigation actually does to your property.

First off, if you remember nothing else from this article, remember that proper watering is the single biggest factor in growing healthy grass, trees, shrubs, and plants.

Minimizing your irrigation system taxes the health of your grass and plants which in turn allows more weeds, invites pests, lets landscaped areas to become sparse, and contributes to poor soil conditions. In the long run, each of these situations can end up being more costly to resolve than having an effective irrigation system in place.

Here are a few recommendations we have to making sure your landscape gets the water it needs:

1. If your property doesn’t have an irrigation system, we recommend installing one. As a company with an irrigation system division, we know that sounds really self-serving, but a commercial property without an irrigation system is either a) washing time and money down the drain, or b) compromising on site health, appearance, and maintenance. 

2. Irrigation systems are only as good as the system controller. A few years ago, our research showed us that upgrading systems to a specific controller helped companies save up to 50% on their water bills, and gave owners and managers more control and visibility on their property. We wrote about that here.

3. Many people think about turning on a system May 15 and turning it off September 15. We strongly recommend a mid-season checkup to identify areas that are being overwatered, underwatered, or those being missed entirely. We overview the systems when they are initially started up, but a lot of companies do not do a mid-season check to see if the system is still functioning according to how it was was setup in the spring. Our crews usually recommend taking care of this mid-season system tweaking in July.

4. It is often a shock to people to discover that there isn’t a single property we maintain that does not require some sort of system repair each year. The repair may be really minor, but many companies do not expect it or accommodate it. Often times, simply repairing a broken irrigation head may ensure landscape health for the area the sprinkler head covers and save a significant amount in repair or replacement costs down the road.

5. Calgary’s winter dictate that most companies start up their irrigation systems around May 15. Keep in mind that some Calgary Aprils are really dry, which can mean that plants and lawns are baking and not getting the water they need. You can read about what we recommend for making sure your trees get enough water in April here. The same applies to grass near a parking lot or high traffic areas which might require some manual watering until the irrigation system is ready to be turned on (after the ground frost is gone).  If you really want to start up your irrigation system early, installing a rain/freeze sensor allows you not to be concerned when temperatures drop into the minus temperatures in the early morning. Evan at -5°C, pipes with water in them won’t be damaged.

Our comprehensive maintenance services and online management systems allow for real-time knowledge sharing between departments. Our lawn maintenance, herbicide/pesticide, or certified arborist crews share on the ground insight with our irrigation crews to ensure that problem property areas are noticed and remedied. Our company size allows for quick response times and responsible, entire-property maintenance. Contact us today to discuss a comprehensive maintenance schedule for your property that doesn’t break the bank.