Bob Franchetto

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How to Find a Water Leak with the Help of the Water Meter

Posted by Bob Franchetto on May 18, 2017 8:53:09 AM

When was the last time you checked your customer’s water meter? If it’s within the last 30 days, that’s great. But if you’re not in the habit of regularly checking your water meters, there’s a good chance you’re missing a leak.

The water meter is an overlooked tool that helps you quickly detect if there’s a water leak somewhere in your customer's irrigation system. Horizon’s Bob Franchetto has put together a few tips and a video to show you how to find and correct leaks with the water meter.


Is There a Leak?

When you’re using the water meter to check for leaks, we’re not concerned about the large dial. When the large dial is moving, we’ve got a big leak. What you want to find is the low flow indicator. Sometimes it’s blue, sometimes it’s a little red triangle.

If the low flow indicator is moving when the irrigation system is shut off, there’s a leak somewhere in the system.


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Finding the Leak

Step 1: Check if water is leaking.

Where the water is leaking is important. If the water is leaking on the city side, your customer won’t be billed for that water, but it still needs to get fixed. Leaks on the city side are the city’s responsibility and the city should be contacted to arrange service.

When the water is leaking on your customer’s side of the property, your customer is paying for it and it’s your responsibility to fix.

Step 2: Check the system from the meter to the valves.

If the water meter is running with the irrigation system turned off, then there is a leak between the meter and the valves. If the meter is running with the backflow turned off, you have just bypassed the valve and isolated the problem to the main. Your leak is between the meter and the backflow.

Step 3: Check if water is leaking out of the sprinkler heads.

When you have water leaking out of the sprinkler heads on a flat surface, you have a weaping valve. The valve is leaking. Let’s get it fixed or replaced.

And if the sprinkler heads are leaking on a sloped surface, you may need to install check valves. Without check valves, each time the system shuts off, every bit of water from the valve to the head is going to leak out. It’s a classic example of low head drainage.

The problem further multiplies when you cycle and soak the slope. If you don't have a check valve in the head when you cycle and soak, every cycle will produce additional low head drainage.

As purveyors of water, it’s our job to help our customers better manage their water usage. In many cases, we can dramatically improve an irrigation system’s efficiency with a few simple tweaks. It's the stuff we walk by every single day and don't pay attention to, but it’s easily fixed and it can save a significant amount of water.



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Topics: Maintenance, Water Conservation, Construction, Drought Solutions

4 Ways to Improve Spray Head Performance

Posted by Bob Franchetto on Mar 3, 2015 5:09:00 PM

rain_bird_1800_series_spray_nozzleA smart water controller is an essential part of an water efficient irrigation system, but its impact is limited when the rest of the system isn't operating efficiently. When you're installing a new system, it's easier to incorporate complementary water saving techologies and create an efficient system. But when you're working with an existing system, the idea is to make simple adjustments that can have an immediate impact on your customer's water bill.

Water conservation is a huge trend in our industry, but it wasn't always that way. There are currently millions of irrigation systems in use across the US that were designed to keep turf and plants green and healthy, but they weren't designed to conserve water. Retrofitting these systems is a huge opportunity and many manufacturers offer smart water components that can be used alongside their older technology.

In this article, we're going to look at 4 different ways to immediately improve the water efficiency of a system that already has a smart water controller and uses Rain Bird 1800 Series sprays for distribution. Rain Bird 1800s have been a leading industry solution for 3 decades and can be found in a variety of residential and commercial settings. If you're having problems with dry spots, run-off, or need to improve water efficiency, there are a number of changes you can make without pulling out the shovel.


#1 Pressure Regulation

second-sprinkler-close-upYou can have the right controller and the right spray body, but if the system pressure is too high for your spray nozzle, you'll end up wasting a lot of water. Usually you'll see this in the form of fogging or misting, which atomizes the water and blows it onto sidewalks and hardscapes, greatly reducing the distribution uniformity of the nozzle. When the distribution uniformity of your sprays drops, you have to run the system longer to avoid dry spots.

The optimal psi for most fixed arc spray nozzles is 30 psi. For rotary nozzles, it's generally 45 psi. Check the manufacturer's specs to find the optimum pressure for the type of nozzle you're using and then check the pressure of the system. When the pressure is too high for your nozzle, you need to pressure regulate.

According to Bernouli's equation, every 5-psi reduction in pressure reduces water usage by 6-8%. This means a 70 psi system reduced to the recommended 30 psi can result in more than 50% in water savings. There are 4 main ways to regulate pressure in a system utilizing Rain Bird components:

  1. Get a pressure regulator for the entire system.
  2. Build a pressure regulator into the control valve.
  3. Install a Rain Bird PRS-Dial at the valve.
  4. Retrofit the existing Rain Bird 1800 spray bodies with P30 (for fixed arc nozzles) or P45 (for rotary nozzles) Pressure Regulating Spray Heads.


#2 Stop Low Head Drainage

low_head_drainageIf you're working on a property that has sloped surfaces and you see water seeping out some of the heads, you likely have low head drainage. With low head drainage, every bit of water from the valve to the low head will be wasted every time the water is shut off, which is even more problematic if you're cycle and soaking.

There's two quick fixes for stopping low head drainage in Rain Bird 1800s:

  1. Put an under-the-head check valve in the spray body.
  2. Retrofit the spray with a head that has a built-in Seal-A-Matic (SAM) check valve. You'll want to use 1800 SAM heads when the system is already operating at optimum pressure and 1800 SAM-PRS when you need both a check valve and pressure regulation.


#3 Use High Efficiency Nozzles

Getting higher distribution uniformity (DU) is very important if you want to reduce run times and the amount of water you're using. You want the entire area to receive the amount of water it needs to maintain green lawns and colorful plants. No more, no less. The more uniform the water distribution, the shorter the run time will be for the driest spot.

If you're having trouble with wind conditions, run-off, dry spots, or just want to save your customer water, you can retrofit 1800 sprays with a high efficiency nozzle like Rain Bird's HE-VAN and R-VAN Nozzles.

HE-VANs are Rain Bird's high efficiency variable arc nozzles. Because they adjust from 0˚ to 360˚, you can simplify the inventory you carry in your truck and HE-VAN's lower trajectory and larger droplets resist wind so the water lands exactly where you want it. He-Vans have a DU of over 70%, which allows you to save water and deliver healthier turf, while shortening run times by up to 35% compared to traditional VANs.


R-VANs are Rain Bird's high efficiency rotary nozzles. Reaching a distance of 13-24', R-VANs are a great retrofit for poorly designed sprinkler systems where spray heads were spaced too far apart or the pipes are too small. Compared to spray arc nozzles, they can achieve a greater radius while using less water. Retrofitting standard spray nozzles with R-VANs can reduce flow by up to 60% and improve water efficiency by up to 30%. Nozzle spray pattern and distance can easily adjusted by hand. No tools required.


4. Plan for Overlap

Are you seeing brown spots around your spray heads? That's an indication that you're not getting good head-to-head coverage.

While it's important to know the manufacturer's catalog numbers, you shouldn't rely on them 100%. The important thing to remember is that those numbers were created in a laboratory under perfect conditions. Things change when you get out in the field.

Give yourself some overlap. The IA recommends a foot overlap, but that might still be a little close. If you're working with a system with 12' spacing, use 15' nozzles and then adjust the distance down.


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Topics: Maintenance, Water Conservation

Building a Better Soil Structure with Turface

Posted by Bob Franchetto on Nov 25, 2014 2:16:00 PM

Are you aerating your turf then filling the holes with sand? Then you're missing an opportunity to greatly improve the water holding capacity of your soil.

In part 18 of our Drought Solutions video series, you'll see why many green industry professionals are moving from sand to Turface, a calcined clay product that allows you to hold more water in the root zone.

Video Transcript

So how do we get from a collapse of soil plates that are all stacked and stuck on each other and we can't get any water and nutrients into it? How do we get from here to a soil now that has microbes in it, that has some enzymes, has some beneficials, has some organics in there?

What's our one way, especially in turf, that we can incorporate into that profile without digging out all that turf, tilling the soil, putting all of our stuff in and putting turf down? How would we go about doing that?

Hopefully we do it at least once a year. Aerate. You're absolutely right. So we're going to aerate. After we aerate, what do we do for the existing holes that are left there?

Traditionally everybody filled them with sand. Sand's cheap. Put sand in those holes. You see putting greens? They sand em. Fairways. They sand em. Sports turf, now landscape turf is not sanding anymore.

How Turface Works


They're putting in a product called Turface. That's a calcined clay product and we're going to talk about it because the reason we use it is because it holds moisture.

Sand has no nutrient value. This has no nutrient value. Sand has zero water holding capacity. How much water does the beach hold? None. The beach won't hold water. Sand has no water holding capacity.

This is a calcined clay. They bake it. That's what makes it into a ceramic. It's a real durable product that doesn't break down. This is the beauty of it. 74% of it is porous. It'll absorb 90% of its weight in water and release it slowly back to the soil profile.

That's why I like this product a lot. Cause now it's gonna take all that nutrient, it's gonna take all that water, and it's gonna hold it in the root zone. Now we got massive amounts of roots, we've got water held in the root zone, our soil is working for us. Our drought tolerance on that turf really grows.

So where they want to take out turf on your properties, you say wait a minute. Let's start working the soil, let's start working your irrigation system, let's save you water by having better, healthier soil. So not only is it going to hold water, but it's gonna help get that water into the soil profile. So everything we talked about, about getting water to the turf surface, getting water to the turf surface.

Now we're doing it at the right rates. Now we can get it to where it needs to go. It needs to be able to get into the soil. Now your water moisture distribution is better and it will improve your drainage because now your soil has the ability to let some water go.

It looks sort of like this. You've got your soil particle, you've got air, you've got water in there. Your Turface is totally part of that soil profile now. You almost build that ideal crummy soil because the product is getting in there and it's holding the nutrients. It's holding all of the airspace. It's increasing the porosity of that soil. All things that we need to have.

An Example of Turface at Work


Here's an example. Here's bermudagrass on native soil, no amendment. All planted the same time. All cared for the same time. Here it is on 50% sand on native soil. Here's your root structure. Here it is with 20% Turface added to that soil. Holding the nutrients in the soil profile. Look at how much deeper you can water. How much deeper it's pulling those roots down in.


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Topics: Maintenance, Water Conservation, Drought Solutions

What are Mycorrhizal Fungi and How Do They Benefit Your Plants?

Posted by Bob Franchetto on Oct 20, 2014 2:06:00 PM

Having trouble getting a good result with your turf, plants, or flowers? An underdeveloped or damaged root system may be the cause.

In part 17 of our Drought Solutions video series, we’ll look at a common misconception that most people have about roots, how mycorrhizal fungi forms a symbiotic relationship with plants, and 7 reasons to use Mycorrhizae on the properties you manage.

Video Transcript

How do the nutrients and microbes get into the plant?

This is a microscopic view of a root. Most people think the root is the piece of the plant that soaks up the water. The root is actually just the anchoring device. That's the device that holds that plant in the ground, whether its turf or whether it's a tree. The root is the anchor.

The root hair - something that we can't see - if these hairs are damaged and/or the soil around on them is so bound up with salts that the microbes and the nutrient load can't get into these root hairs, the soil's not doing anything for you.

You can plant and plants and plant on that soil and you won't get any results out of it because your nutrients can't get into the plant. Your nutrients are bound up in the soil particle and there's no way for them to get in.

So we are trying to always build bigger, better root systems. Bigger, better root systems whether it's in our flower beds, whether it's in our turf plots, whether it's in our trees. The bigger, better roots you get, the more drought resistant that plant's gonna be. No matter what plant it is.

What are Mycorrhizal Fungi?


So, how can we do that? Has anybody ever heard of mycorrhizal? Mycorrhizal fungi.

What it is it's a naturally occurring beneficial fungi that forms a symbiotic relationship with the plants. So what this mycorrhizae does is once you get it into your soil profile, it gets on all of these root hairs and it expands that root hair. And not only does it expand that root hair, but now it grows because it feeds on the roots. It pulls starches and sugars from the plant so that the mycorrhizae can stay alive. That fungi can stay alive. So it starts building in the soil profile and it makes these roots stronger, better, healthier.

It comes in a couple different forms. Here's a $26 packet of a water soluble. So you could syringe that or it comes in a granular. You can syringe that into your soul profile. If you want flowers to just blow up out of the planter bed and look crazy and produce like crazy, that's a great product to start with.

7 Benefits of Mycorrhizae


So what it does: here's a plant without mycorrhizae and here's a plant with it. Planted exactly the same time. One of the soil plots had mycorrhizae, the other one didn't. Obviously this one did.  It puffs up those roots. It gives us this what they call mycorrhizal hyphae and I'll look at that in the next slide.

You improve the plant establishment and growth. Obviously, the better the root structure, the stronger, the healthier, the more the plants gonna grow.

Increases your nutrient and water uptake. It's gonna take that water that would normally leach past it. It's going to soak it up and now it's gonna store it in its own roots. So it gives that plant more drought tolerance.

Improved disease resistance because now we got a real healthy root structure.

Assists in weed suppression. This is where in your turf plot, if you've got all of this mycorrhizae and you've got all these roots forming this big mass underneath your turf plot. And a weed comes in and it tries to get dominance, the turf's already got dominance over it. That weed's not going to survive.

Improves your soil structure because now those roots are going down and they're getting into that soil profile and they're creating pore space.

You get more blossoms, more fruit, and more top growth. And the top growth here is not like you're gonna get spikes in turf growth like you do when you put a straight synthetic fertilizer on and you get that huge spike where the guys are mowing hay for a couple weeks.

You get a real nice even top growth. So you're not going to get spikes in growth. Cause spikes in the turf growth are very, very detrimental to your turf. It's a huge stress on the turf.

So what the mycorrhizae does is it forms this cotton ball like mass underneath these roots and around these roots. So here's your roots that are your structure, that are holding this plant in place and then all of this what they call mycorrhizal hyphae is those roots expanding out. They form like this cotton ball mass around these roots and their feeding from the roots but they're also taking and gathering nutrients up for that plant.


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Topics: Maintenance, Drought Solutions

The Role of Microbes in Soil Fertility

Posted by Bob Franchetto on Oct 2, 2014 4:35:00 PM

Microbes help build turf that can withstand weeds and drought conditions. In Part 16 of our Drought Solutions video series, we'll cover 6 microbial benefits and how those benefits directly contribute to both soil and plant health.

Video Transcript

Microbial benefits in that soil profile. They stimulate existing soil microbes. Once you're established, you improve that bio-energy foundation.

That just means that now the inputs that we're putting into the soil are working for us at all times and the more organics that you're going through, the more energy, the more food sources that are there, the better it is for that soil to stay alive. It becomes stronger.


Your nutrient and water efficiencies, your holding capacity of that soil is much better. You reduce your disease and stress problems. Cause what's the first thing that comes in when you have a stressed area of turf?

Weeds. With healthy turf, you combat the weeds. So now you don't have any weeds. No weeds, a lot less stress on the plant, and your disease problem goes away.

Most diseases that you have in your turf plots were introduced by a foreign like a weed, something else. The turf varities that we have today are pretty disease-resistant. Back in the old days, you'd have real problems with disease. Today we've bred most of those out of our turf. So if there's a disease or a stress problem in there, it's usually brought in by a weed.

Improve your soil aggregation. Along with that, now you get a bio-diversity in your soil. So soil aggregation, you got your clay soil over here that's pretty bound up. You got my soil over here in Phoenix that's just this granite gravelly looking stuff. We like to have that soil sorta right in the middle and we call that a crummy soil. It's good, but it's crummy.

And a crummy soil is that soil that when you go and you grab a handful of it - if you go to a farm, if you go to a guy's agriculture field, the farmers they work their soil cause they understand this completely. The yield on their crop is directly based on how well their soil is prepared. And you go grab that soil and it's real nice, it falls apart in your hand. It's got some structure. It's got a little bit of moisture in it, but it falls apart. That's a real good soil.

With that soil aeration and aggregation, you get really, really enhanced rooting. And that's what we're all about, we need to get that root mass down into that soil profile. The bigger the root system in your soil profile, the better water holding capacity you have, the more drought resistant that plant is going to become.


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Topics: Maintenance, Water Conservation, Drought Solutions

Why is the Nitrogen Cycle Important in Your Soil?

Posted by Bob Franchetto on Sep 26, 2014 3:35:48 PM

If you're using synthetic fertilizers on your customers' turf, you're slowly killing the beneficial bacteria that build the soil. In part 15 of our Drought Solution video series, you'll learn how the nutrient and nitrogen cycles work and how they directly contribute to soil and plant health.

Video Transcript

Does everybody know what nutrient cycling in the soil is? Has anybody ever heard of the nitrogen cycle?

Almost exactly the same concept. You'll hear it as nutrient cycling or nitrogen cycle and here's how it works.


You have plant material up top. You have us as humans and the atmosphere up here putting inputs into the soil.

But let's start right here at the natural level. Plant material, organic matter, mulching mowing, and all of those plants that you put back into the soil.

What happens is these little jellybean looking characters here, that are all around here in the soil, in a healthy soil. These are the beneficial bacteria, the fungi, the mycorrhizae. All of these little decomposers that take this organic material and they convert it.

As they're feeding on that organic, all these little guys use that as their food source, their energy source. As they feed on that, what do we produce?

Ammonium nitrate in a non-synthetic form. This is how Mother Nature keeps the forest green.

We're producing it naturally as we continue to build that soil. If we decide that we're going to put a synthetic in here, what it does is it starts killing all these guys. Cause these guys don't react to salt at all. These guys do not like salt. So we start killing them off and then this whole cycle is disrupted and you get a collapse of soil.

If we add in organic inputs here, now we're making these guys stronger. And the stronger they get, the more they multiply. The better they're working for us in our soil profile, the more ammonium nitrates they're making. The more nutrients we have in our soil, the better our plants look.

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Topics: Maintenance, Water Conservation, Drought Solutions

The Long-Term Benefits of Organic Fertilizers

Posted by Bob Franchetto on Sep 23, 2014 4:57:00 PM

In Part 14 of our Drought Solutions video series, you’ll learn how organic fertilizers are able to boost the microbial activity and bio-reserves in your soil's profile.

Video Transcript

When you're talking about an organic, we're totally talking about nutrient management, keeping your microbial activity alive, and then having the carbon or bio-reserves in that soil so that those microbes can regenerate and regenerate and keep going.

We've got a study going on in Phoenix right now on bermudagrass, where for the past 6 years, we've done organic inputs. It got mowed with a mulching mower. So we're mulching that back in and it got organic inputs for a full 6 years and then just standard irrigation.

In the past 2 years, the only thing they stopped was the organic inputs. For 2 years now, that turf plot has been mowed, mulched, mulch mowed and irrigated and that turf plot still looks phenomenal.

I gave it 6 months. Ah yeah, 6 months you'll need more nutrients. What's going on now is that the microbial activity is taking that mulch mowing and starting that whole regeneration process. So what happens with organics vs. synthetics is as time goes on, your soil gets better and better and it starts working for you so now you have to have less inputs and less inputs.

The Key Benefits of Organic Fertilizer


Organic benefits. Obviously, it provides energy for the microbial buildup. We've talked about that. It increases the organic content to enhance the soil structure, water and nutrient retention.

As the soil gets better, it holds more water and nutrients. As that soil profile holds more water and nutrients, it's not just running off across the curb cause we can't get any water in it. It's not just straight leaching all the way through.

It's holding that water. Now the soil is acting as your reservoir and you've got a much, much longer cycle in between your irrigations and less water. You saved it. Less nutrient input, saving money.

That water holding, that reservoir. Healthy plants use less water. Healthy soils hold more water for those plants.

5 Ways Carbon Based Products Improve Soil Health


Carbon based products. As you get that carbon and that organic in the soil profile working, it doesn't want to leach out. It won't leach out because the soil is now working for you and it stays there.
Adds energy. Rich diet to tired soils. So as you're putting carbon based products in there, now those collapsed soils are getting a little reserve to come back. They're getting stronger.

Builds up that microbe. Stabilizes the root zone. We'll talk about why that happens here in a minute. It improves the nutrient and water retention in that soil and promotes rooting and lateral growth.

Now that we have air space. Now that we have water space. Now that we have pour space built into that soil, now your roots can go deeper. Deep infrequent watering, healthier plants, better root structure. And we're going to talk about how to build some root structure.


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Topics: Maintenance, Water Conservation, Fertilizer, Drought Solutions

The Long-Term Consequences of Synthetic Fertilizers

Posted by Bob Franchetto on Sep 11, 2014 2:02:00 PM

Synthetic fertilizers can successfully deliver some nutrients to your customer's turf, but repeated use may also cause significant damage to the soil. In Part 13 of our Drought Solutions video series, you’ll see how synthetic fertilizers can affect carbon levels, destroy microbial activity, and ultimately lead to a complete soil collapse.

Video Transcript

Water management begins with carbon based natural fertilizers. Does everybody understand that statement? That means it's an organic fertilizer. Carbon based natural fertilizers.

Traditionally, stress is a result of synthetic fertilizers. High stress cause we're adding salts to that soil profile. The more salt we add, the harder it is for the plant to uptake that water because the salts are in the way blocking the nutrients.

You get rooting issues. We'll never get the density of this putting green using synthetics.

The one thing that golf course managers know is that organic fertilizers building their soil give them phenomenal density. Now the reason we'll never get as dense or we'll get the quality of a golf course is because we physically don't have the time to mow every one of our properties every day at 1/32". Density comes with frequent mowing at real tight, tight increments.

How Synthetic Fertilizers Affect the Soil Profile


In a synthetic fertilizer, you're going to get a little bit of nutrient management, but it's very little.

Synthetic fertilizers totally destroy your microbial activity in your soil. The microbes that are doing all of the work in a good soil profile get knocked out by salts. They just are not happy and you end up getting a soil collapse in the end.

And the reason is, is because your carbon levels in that soil profile are reduced. When you have reduced carbon levels, you have reduced bacterial activity because the carbon is what all the microbes feed on. That's their only energy source. And once you don't have any microbial activity and the carbon is gone, you get a complete soil structure collapse.

Soil structure collapse looks like that picture where the soil was all cracked earlier. There's virtually nothing there. It looks like that clay soil that was real muddy and soupy, where you don't have any nutrient flow throughout it. There's no airflow. That's a soil structure collapse.

A lot of the pictures that our water purveyors are showing now. Where that lake was all the way down to nothing and you get all that cracked soil and everything shrinking up. That's a soil collapse. Just because there's no nutrient load in it whatsoever.


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Topics: Fertilizer, Drought Solutions

Choosing a Fertilizer Based on Soil Test Results

Posted by Bob Franchetto on Aug 28, 2014 5:04:00 PM

Soil tests help you identify which nutrients your customers' soil actually needs to produce healthy turf. In Part 12 of our Drought Solutions video series, you'll learn the reason why many seasonal fertilizer blends won't work for your soil and why you should integrate soil tests into your annual program.

Video Transcript

Who's doing soil tests on a regular basis?

Every single site should be at least soil tested once a year.

Here's why: When you go to the doctor and you've got something wrong or you don't feel good, what's the first thing the doctor says to you?

Where's your blood work? They want blood work. That's your soil test. The doctor is not going to prescribe anything for you until they know what's going on in the inside of you.

How do we prescribe - hey, I'm going to put that fertilizer on - when we don't know what we need? Or we don't know what's going on? A lot of the fertilizers you're putting on don't work because it's either not needed or the soil is bound up enough to where it can't get it.

Without a soil test, we don't know what the soil needs, whether we're using synthetic fertilizers or we're using organic fertilizers. It still doesn't know what it needs. So that's important.

What's the very first thing customers ask you about fertilizer? What do they want?

Color. I want green. I don't care what you give me. I want it to green up.

Well, the right answer is: I don't know how to green up your site. I don't know what the heck's going on on it. Because we haven't done a soil sample. That's the right answer.

But traditionally the answer you get - see that right over there, that's our winter fertilizer. That's the one you should use. That's gonna green it up. That's our summer fertilizer. That's what you should use. That's what's gonna green it up.

That's my job to start training my guys. To get better at it. To say, well wait a minute. What's going on on your site? How do we know what you're supposed to be using? Are you using organics? Are you using synthetics? Start asking the questions to make us get better, and that's what we want to get to.

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Topics: Maintenance, Water Conservation, Fertilizer, Drought Solutions

How to Convert a Spray Valve to Subsurface Drip Irrigation

Posted by Bob Franchetto on Aug 15, 2014 2:25:00 PM

Drip irrigation can be a great way to minimize evaporation and deliver the perfect amount of water to plantings, but installing it in some soils can be challenging.

After watching Part 11 of our Drought Solutions video series, you'll know how to quickly convert a spray valve to a drip valve and how to avoid common problems contractors experience when moving to subsurface irrigation.


Video Transcript

Here's a cool little product for converting that little weird area. You know that little weird area. It's hard to spray. It's just like, why are we growing turf there?

Cool product that Agrifim has. Rain bird has one. Hunter has one. Toro has one. This one I like the best so far.

agrifim drip irrigation conversion

You take out your spray body. The whole thing. You screw in their body right here. This is a screen and a pressure regulator all installed in one. Screw that on. Hook up your drip tubing.

You just converted that spray valve to a drip valve without digging up anything. Without digging up the valve to put a pressure regulator and a filter on it. It's all right there. 

And then what you do with the extra heads that are on the system, you just go and put a plug in for the male or female and you plug off all the other heads.

So you just took that little weird system that's not doing anything and you converted that one system that was a problem over to drip.

Low Volume and Subsurface Irrigation

low volume and subsurface irrigation

Points source emitters. I know you guys use quite a bit of this.

How much subsurface do you use? A lot? Where do you use it? Turf or flower beds? Beds. Yeah, we struggle with this under turf. We struggle with this under everything because our soil is so crappy. Our soil just leaches water like crazy. It's so porous. In clay soils you can have some issues too where the water doesn't move enough and it just makes this glob.

So what I end up having to use especially in my flower beds that we're doing subsurface in, I gotta use this Eco-Mat.

You basically put the Eco-Mat down in the bed. You put the grid pattern on top of it. And then now that mat holds the moisture and it's a capillary mat like we used to use in the nursery benches. Pretty cool stuff.

If it's in turf, deeper than your aerator. If it's in your flower beds, I go just below a 1 gallon root ball. Depends on what you're planting in that flower bed all the time.

Your guys gotta know, your crews gotta know that it's down there cause you'll stick a shovel through it. Doesn't matter if you stick a shovel through the mat as much as it does the subsurface.

Subsurface, originally when it came out a lot of guys jumped on it in Phoenix for obvious reasons. No evaporation. That's what they painted it as. No evaporation, no evaporation. Yeah, it's a great deal.

Man, our soils are so rough that we get great looking checkerboard pattern turf. You get this green stripe, green stripe, green stripe, green stripe and all of these little brown spots in between. Because it's really hard to get that tear dropped shape out of that emitter that's coming out of that emitter of water.

The water just naturally wants to get that tear drop to go up and these are relying on soils that can wick a little bit of water back up and you gotta add a ton of organic matter and we're going to talk about that this afternoon. None of this is any good if your soils aren't working for you.


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Topics: Water Conservation, Construction, Drought Solutions