You can save literally thousands of gallons of water on your landscape, and save your plants from drowning, just by ensuring the proper settings of your irrigation controller.
DAYS PER WEEK: Typical irrigation controllers allow a program to be scheduled to operate any day of the week. Operation can happen on any number of selected days. Adding or subtracting days is a common way to adjust controllers for increasing or decreasing seasonal water requirements. Multiple Programs A, B, and C, allow you to run different valves on different days with different run times.
MINUTES PER STATION: Each station or valve is given a run time in minutes that is determined by the amount of time it takes for water to saturate the soil and start running off. A typical time for water to run off in clay soils with a spray system is 5 minutes. This is the maximum amount of watering time that you should apply to allow the soil to absorb the water. This is known as "Cycle and Soak". Apply water and allow time for it to soak in before applying additional required water.
START TIMES PER DAY: Each program in the controller has two to four start times depending on the model of the irrigation controller. Repeated start times allows for the "Cycle and Soak" principle by giving time for the water to be absorbed into the soil and thereby avoid run-off . If we need 10 minutes of watering, per day, then we would use two start times one hour apart with a 5 minute station run time each. Start times for different programs should not conflict with each other.
TOTAL MINUTES PER WEEK: We assume the irrigation system is well designed and maintained. Your individual irrigation system may apply water faster or slower based on the design, type and spacing of sprinkler heads. Also, significant differences in temperatures can occur throughout the year that are out of the monthly averages. For these reasons YOU MAY HAVE TO ADJUST UP OR DOWN to meet the watering needs of your lawns and landscaping.