Turf & Rec

Features Agronomy
Cloud- controlled watering for turf and plants

Internet has allowed us to tap into modern technology for smarter irrigation


February 8, 2017
By Lorne Haveruk

Topics

Try to kill a plant and most survive. Why? Plants are intelligent. They have evolved to develop themselves with multiple modules, so Stefano Mancuso notes. These modules function together and, if damaged, the plant continues to function.  The Internet functions with multiple computers, but if one is damaged the system continues. So do plants.

So, next time you are working with plants, be it millions of turf plants or a rose that you are caring for, watch what you say and do as the plants are sensing your actions and reactions.

How many of us like to go without water? We are told that we can survive two days without water and about a week without food. During a hot, intense sun, dry spell when the irrigation system breaks, or the watering ban is implemented, how do you think your plants will react? It’s well-known that they change colour, like us when we hold our breath, start to wilt, again like us when we begin to lose our strength at the end of a physically tough day, and go dormant, similar to us when we go to sleep. The difference is that when we finally do get replenished by drinking lots of water we survive and revive.  

Do the plants? If they go long enough in extreme conditions, they may not. Weeds are tougher and can take over the space that a dormant or dying plant occupies.

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Irrigation, utilizing the new advances in design, efficiency, application, and monitoring can achieve amazing results in the hands of a knowledgeable irrigator, and with far less water than has been required in the past. And this is a good thing as we experience water restrictions, shortages, bylaws restricting consumption and full water bans due to limited supplies.

New approaches in control
The Internet gateway for outdoor landscape irrigation, irrigation with fertilizer-injection systems, lighting, fountains and virtually anything that is similar, is now a reality. We are closer than most realize to having the Internet and plant requirements connected. SMRT Logic by Toro© provides cloud-based control of irrigation controllers that are already familiar. Control is accessed through the new SMRTscape.com website, as well as Apple® and Android® SMRTscape™ mobile applications.  

Once connected, SMRT provides a secure connection to your irrigation controller and landscape features with no need for Wi-Fi passwords. And it does not compete for bandwidth with other Wi-Fi devices on the same wireless network. Wireless communication to the irrigation controller and landscape features is achieved through a proprietary radio technology that can travel approximately three times farther than standard Wi-Fi-connected devices.

Hydrawise Wi-Fi connectivity

  • The Wi-Fi irrigation market is a new and fast growing sector in the irrigation industry.
  • The ability of a controller to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi provides potentially exciting new functionality to traditional controllers.
  • Abilities such as: monitoring, weather station information, alerts and notifications, remote access, homeowners,
    contractors, software/firmware upgrades
  • These all provide the opportunity for customers to save water and hence money, as well as feel connected and informed about their irrigation system.

What does all this mean to those of us who work with water? Control! Control from anywhere in the world at a low cost and high potential returns. How? You could be overseas sitting on a beach that has Wi-Fi connectivity and know what is going on at the sites you manage. This control was only available in the past through central irrigation control systems. I know because my firm was the first in Canada to offer private client connection to a central control network that was monitored and watered by the weather, not by time, as the older, and still in use, water wasting irrigation controllers do.

The old controls systems are not much better than an alarm clock that wakes you up each morning. The new products that can be combined to form a superior operating system, that allows you to be aware of what the plants are doing is here now ready for you to adopt.

The Internet opened the world. Are you ready to jump in and take advantage of what might make you a wealthier person? The technology is now. It’s time for you to THINK outside the BOX and utilize your creativity to model your business for success. As always, if you are slow to the starting line, you may become obsolete to companies that already operate systems to water the plants and landscapes utilizing the Internet capabilities through products developed to control irrigation.  

Good luck. Save water! Make money!-

Credits: Stefano Mancusco: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/radical-conservation/2015/aug/04/plants-intelligent-sentient-book-brilliant-green-internet

Lorne Haveruk, CLWM, CID, CIC, CLIA, CGIA, WCP, Principal, DH Water Management, educator and author, is one of Canada’s leading water resource consultants. DH Water is focused on all aspects of water resource management, educating those who manipulate water for outdoor uses. For educational offerings and other services, visit www.dhwatermgmt.com. To contact the author directly, email lorne@dhwatermgmt.com. Manu tends to a number of tasks as an employee of Watson’s, including construction work and such maintenance jobs as mowing, hedge trimming and
tree planting.