‘It’s winter, who cares about irrigation?’

By Alistair December 6, 2022 10:21

Even though your irrigation system is unlikely to be used at this time of year, it is actually the perfect time to carry out essential irrigation tasks, writes John Kidson.

As we enter part four of my irrigation ramblings, firstly, a quick reminder of my past articles: irrigation controllers; common questions regarding water storage and harvest; and an irrigation action plan.

This time of year, it would be good to remember your system exists: ‘It’s winter, who cares about irrigation?’

Most systems would have been drained down by now and the well-known phrase ‘out of sight and out of mind’ is relevant. There are plenty of irrigation tasks that can be completed and checked, and winter is a perfect time for some of these!

I’ve listed below some of the winter works and checks I would personally look to undertake time permitting.

• Construction, consider the irrigation near any construction areas this winter and make any contractors or staff aware

• Sprinkler levels, this is a perfect time to raise some heads and change any known issues

• Valve boxes, levelling plays a large part in the health of the components inside with less stress from machinery. Consider fresh terram to keep the debris / soil out and clean / remake the cable joints while you’re in the box!

• Cable tests, keep the cable network tests going. We will all rather know in advance if a zone fails. Decoder fault finding can be done without water.

• Pump house, keep an eye on your pump house. Items like the heater keeping your pumps nice and warm. Look out for any issues caused by animals, oil up the hinges and locks, make sure the building’s vents are clear, try and keep the areas near any electrics and the control panels clear of debris and bugs!

• Irrigation controllers, as mentioned in my first article, look after the area near the irrigation controller. If it’s a PC system, consider pulling the monitor and tower out of the way for a good deep clean. Take a photo of the cables if any are to be removed and mark up if required, and keep to the same USB and ports to save any issues. Check the PC for any required updates, most irrigation PCs will have this function turned off, so the PC doesn’t try to restart during a watering cycle. Wall mounted controllers are worth inspecting and make sure you isolate the power before opening any covers.

• Back up, back up and back up! Check you have a recent copy of your irrigation information such as a database copy, decoder numbers and module numbers, as laid. If you have these items, make sure you back them up on another device.

• Toolbox, why not show the toolbox that’s full of nozzles and broken valve parts? Consider how many spare nozzles you really need, any tools that could require a drop of oil and a clean, tools like sprinkler keys really don’t cost much. Don’t use something else not designed for the hand off and auto functions for the sake of £15 to £25.

• Batteries, you may have items like a clamp metre, multimeter, cat and genie, which could be sitting unused for a while. Consider checking the batteries for any signs of age – these tools aren’t cheap to replace!

• Weather stations, try to keep the areas clear. Clean off any solar panels and consider a tidy up all round near any irrigation equipment open to the elements.

The above can be combined with the results of your action plan (see my last article) helping your site with the mad rush we all find ourselves in when the sun comes out.

Follow John Kidson on Twitter @JKIrrigation


By Alistair December 6, 2022 10:21

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