Monthly Archives: June 2016

Irrigation Tales

It being a steamy late spring day, I am reminded of how important (and often misunderstood) irrigation systems are to a community. I like to compare them to that 1967 Oldsmobile you found in your grandpa’s barn. Many of the parts are original and the thing always need tinkering.

Irrigation systems are fairly straightforward: plumbing, clocks and a little electricity. Nonetheless, they exhibit a certain mysterious nature which at turns proves puzzling and vexing. Herewith for your amusement, quotes and anecdotes of the irrigation system.

“The sprinklers haven ‘t gone off all week.” That’s because it’s been raining during their timed operation. Rain sensor: an inexpensive little device worth its weight in precious metal. I remember being at a meeting where a couple of know-it-alls were guffawing about the fact that the sprinklers had been going off in the rain. No rain sensor: buy one. The system doesn’t know it’s raining. But the system does know what time it turns on.

There’s always the OMG moment when one witnesses a busted head. A miniature geyser, which looks more disconcerting than it is. They are readily and quickly replaced and you use more water in the shower than a head does even after a few days. “If my siding is damaged, the association is paying for it!” Siding is generally impervious to low psi water.
One guy called to tell me that the sprinklers had watered his car overnight. So the heads are pointed on the driveway? No, he was parking on the lawn.

“I belong to a country club and my lawn needs to look like that.” Are you considering paying a greens fee? The typical commercial lawn contract includes herbicide, fertilizer, irrigation and a weekly haircut. Country clubs look like they do because they have a staff of degreed turf management professionals. (In fact there are several academic journals with the words “turf”, “management” and “science” in their titles.) Don’t be thinking you can shop Bylery’s on a Cub budget.

Stay cool and green.