A new irrigation system requires setup. As you prep a new system for its first-time use, you’ll need the things to set up an irrigation schedule that will work best for the site’s specific conditions: the water requirement and the precipitation rates of the sprinkler heads or drip emitters.
Water requirement: The easiest way to estimate the water you’ll need is to use evaporation and transpiration (ET) information. Evaporation happens to water from the soil surface, and transpiration occurs to water from the leaves of the plant. Historic ET data for your area can be obtained through online sources like your local university extension’s website.
The amount of water lost through ET changes with the seasons, so you’ll need to reset the watering schedule throughout the year to accommodate these modifications.
Precipitation rate: This is the rate at which water is being applied to your plants in a certain amount of time (usually inches per hour). The best way to figure out the precipitation rate of your sprinkler heads or drip emitters is to do an irrigation system audit. If you can’t find an auditor, the next best way is to go to the manufacturer’s catalog, find the nozzle you’re using and get precipitation rates based on spacing from the catalog.
Calculate Run Times
Watch this video to learn a quick formula for calculating run times and other factors to consider when setting your controller to a cycle and soak schedule.