Recent literature touts “SMART” irrigation system technology without adequately defining the terminology. The word “SMART” is not an acronym for an obscure government program. It simply means irrigating a residential or small commercial landscape more efficiently, and intelligently, to promote healthy plant growth, minimize maintenance costs, and to conserve precious water. There are a variety of products designed to assist the homeowner or landscape maintenance professional to accomplish these worthy goals.

The most frequently discussed products are “SMART” controllers or irrigation timers. These devices direct the application of water based on current environmental conditions and the properties of the irrigated site such as soil type, solar orientation, slopes, irrigated plant material, and the type of sprinklers used to disperse the irrigation water. There are several manufacturers who produce “climate-based” controllers. For the home-style irrigation system, Kern Turf Supply, Inc. currently sells the “climate-based” Rain Bird ESP with SMART Cartridges product line and the Irritrol Smart Dial controllers. In addition, Hunter Industries manufacturers the Solar Sync, a weather gathering component designed to modify new or existing Hunter controllers to become climate-based units. The Rain Bird ET- Manager system is a “climate-based” product designed primarily for Homeowner Association types of applications. In terms of present-day irrigation controllers, be sure to utilize the “water budget” feature found on most solid state controllers. Use the information available from our “Resources” tab to adjust your watering schedule to conform with expected weekly temperatures.

In addition, there are other irrigation devices that are considered “SMART” irrigation technology by the industry. These include pop-up sprinklers with wiper seals to reduce water waste, matched precipitation rate sprinkler nozzles that spread water more uniformly, pressure compensation devices in the sprinkler body and/or the nozzles itself, check valves built in to the individual sprinkler to prevent low-head drainage, shutoff devices that interrupt water delivery during unfavorable environmental conditions, and moisture sensors that aid irrigation scheduling based on available soil moisture.

All of these devices can significantly reduce water use, promote a healthier landscape, and reduce maintenance costs. Please come by your local Bakersfield Kern Turf Supply, Inc. branch and we will be happy to show you how each of these devices operates.