Irrigation, not irritation

By Alistair August 13, 2022 08:55

Irrigation specialist John Kidson offers a selection of tips and ideas for how you can get more out of your irrigation system – particularly if it’s one that you might feel needs replacing.

My name is John Kidson and for pretty much all my working life I’ve worked in sports turf, horticulture and pumps. The aim of this content I’m creating is to hopefully allow the readers to pick up some tips and ideas. Irrigation is known to many as irritation!

John Kidson

The common reasons for this are usually budgets, lack of water, outdated controllers only one person knows how to operate on site, pump sets working beyond their limits due to increased irrigation demand since their design and small-bore pipes.

These are some of the top issues we come across out in the field and are not always an easy fix but the birth of gaining the most out of your system starts at the beginning.

The controller

Whether its wall-mounted, or PC controlled, this item is the birth of your automated irrigation, we all know sites that have wall-mounted controllers no one likes to touch but ‘insert name’ has used it for 30 years, knows all the stations in their head and most importantly knows about all the missing buttons and can read the half dead display screen!

The above isn’t good for the site as you would guess.


• Record the process of setting a program on your phone that can then be shared with staff as required, and likely backed up to a cloud either automatically or manually. Use a second person to record the footage and undertake all the process slowly to avoid someone having to pause and rewind when learning.

• Make a modern list of the decoder numbers, station names and the same as above to back this up. This includes the PC controllers! Don’t rely on third parties as your only back up, even simply taking pictures of the station details on the screen could save plenty of work in the future if it all goes wrong!

• PC controllers require being treated like a PC, which means updating, turning off and resetting once in a blue moon. Keep them clean of dust and debris – yes, those dirty spare boots, chainsaw parts, years of freebie calendars and hats will all lead to the PC having a hard time breathing. You wouldn’t cover your car engine up, why would you cover your only automated PC tower up?


• Consider looking into a more modern version of the controller you have, particularly wall-mounted versions as these can transform the use of your system for a low cost. Speak with the brand or your irrigation specialist to double compatibility.

• Many times I visit sites to find no rain switch installed, this is a very cheap part for most systems and will allow shut down of the irrigation on a set mm of water. If you’re in a situation of returning to site, turning the system on or off after expecting end of the world rain to only be treated with lovely sunshine, I suggest a simple rain switch to back up the system and create more time for a well-earned drink of your own!

In future articles I will cover more commonly found issues with the hope to pass on more tips and ideas.

Follow John Kidson on Twitter @JKIrrigation


By Alistair August 13, 2022 08:55

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