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Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

What is included in a spring start up with Green Acres?

Saturday, April 26th, 2014
  1. Turning the water on to the sprinkler system. Sounds easy…right? This involves finding the sprinkler water shut off in the basement, breaking the winterizing seal, reinstalling the handle, shutting off the winter safety drain (usually a boiler drain/faucet) and turning the water back on.
  2. Next, using our remote control, the technician will run through the system one zone at a time. He will look at each individual head looking for crooked heads and whether they are spraying well and in the right areas. He will also look for leaks and any damage that might have occurred over the winter.  He then makes the necessary adjustments or repairs.
  3. Lastly, the controller is set for springtime watering.  Note a few things at this point:
    • Because it is spring, and if it is early spring and maybe wet and cold, we may leave the system controller in the OFF position. You will need to turn this to RUN when you want to begin watering.
    • As the year progresses you will need to make necessary seasonal adjustments to your controller.  For example:  Increasing times in each zone or increasing the % in seasonal adjust. Green Acres offers the option of  service plans that have one or more “Walk Throughs” where we do the adjusting for you. Give us a call and we can go over the possibilities with you.
    • Here is a link to the U of M Extension with watering tips.

Enjoy Spring!  We deserve it this year!!

First Winter Freeze

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Today is the first day all year that the temperature will not be above freezing. If you have not already had you sprinkler system winterized you need to do it immediately.  Our customers from warmer parts of the country, might not be aware of the need to winterize their sprinkler system.  The back flow device and the copper pipes leading to the house are in danger of freezing and cracking, potentially costing you hundreds of dollars and creating a mess in the Spring.  So if you still need someone to come out and winterize your sprinkler system, call or e-mail us today.

Lighting and LEDs – Part 2

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

In the past LEDs in Minnesota, did not work well, they were very expensive and did not melt snow. The prices have come down over the last two years and for a couple of specific uses are now a useful/viable option.

Downlighting out of trees – A costly and time consuming activity is switching out lights that are mounted high up in trees. By switching the lights to LEDs you can forget about having to replace bulbs for a couple of decades.  The only caveat being that you need to make sure you have a good watertight fixture or you risk water damaging your new expensive LED bulbs.

Path or Area Lights – These often use bi-pin style bulbs and manufacturers now have LEDs that will fit most area lights we use.  The biggest savings with these lights is if a system is designed around using LEDs.  If designed for LEDs, the system can use a smaller transformer and wire size, creating potential saving the customer money on the orignal install and on electricity use of the system.

All this comes with the knowledge that LEDs are a still relatively new technology, and it will take some time to see if they really last decades outdoors.

Drip Irrigation – How to find out if your drip irrigation is working

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Sometimes it is hard for homeowners to determine if their drip irrigation is working.  One common mistake is looking at the surface of the mulch or rock and panicking because there isn’t any sign of water. It is very easy to over water and drown plants, too much water can be just as deadly as too little water.  It is best to leave the clock set for a watering time determined by either the landscaper or the irrigation technician.  If the plants seem like they are not getting enough water follow these steps to see if the system is working.

1. Let the system run and then go outside after it is finished.

2  Pull back the mulch, or rock near the plant.  Preferably a 1′ by 1′ area.

3. Using a spade or your hand, dig down a couple inches in the dirt in several areas.  Is the dirt moist?  If so it is working, remember there shouldn’t be standing water around the plant because you may be over watering the plant.

4.  If the ground is hard or completely dry then your drip might not be working.  There could be several reasons for this and it is best to call an irrigation professional to examine your drip irrigation.

5.  If it is moist but you feel it isn’t getting enough water, it is best to call a landscaper or irrigation specialist and let them determine how much extra water you need.

A Letter to Our Customers

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Dear Customers,

We have to change the way we are watering our landscaping. Most systems need to be updated with new controllers.  Here are some facts concerning most sprinkler systems today.

  • Nationwide, residential outdoor water use exceeds seven billion gallons of water each day, most of which is used for watering our landscaping.
  • Experts estimate that half of this water goes to waste due to evaporation, wind and improperly scheduled run times.
  • There is currently an estimated 13.5 million irrigation systems installed in residential lawns across the United States and an additional three hundred thousand new systems are installed every year.
  • It is estimated that less than ten percent of these units already use water conserving controllers.  This means many systems are wasting water!

The problem

Currently the most common method used to schedule irrigation is a manually programmed clock timer that irrigates a specified amount on a preset schedule program by the user.  Clock timer controllers can be significant source of wasted water, because irrigation schedules are often set to water during the height of the growing season and are not adjusted to actual watering needs. Plant requirements decrease in the fall, many homeowners forget to reset their irrigation schedules, over watering their lawns.

The solution

An alternative to clock timers is weather based controllers.  Weather based controllers can make adjustments to watering times every day. Watering is tailored to the weather conditions and apply water only when the landscaping needs it. This creates a healthier, better looking landscape and saves water and money!

We have seen 25%-40% reduction in water usage after a weather based controller is installed. These devices cost $300-$800 for most systems. On most systems they can save 50,000 to 80,000 gallons of water a year.

It is our goal to get all our customers converted to one of these smart controllers. If all the systems in America had weather based controllers, billions of gallons of water and millions of dollars could be saved.  If you would like more information give us a call at 952-929-1232 or contact us here.