The Happy Gardener

The Newsletter Serving Residential Farmers of the world wide web


The Irrigation Clock and You


Over the years we have shared our Water Management Program's tips and techniques with you in our monthly newsletters. All this was done with the intention to help you develop a natural set of practices to follow in your yard. One of the biggest challenges that homeowners still face is the knowledge of how to operate their automatic irrigation clock (controller). We want your water management approach to be a success.

The purpose of the automatic clock is to take away the burden of having you manually turn on and off your irrigation system. Without a clock, homeowners tend to waste a lot more water because they forget when they turned the irrigation on and when they should turn it off. The function of an irrigation clock is to turn your automatic valves on and off at preset times and days.

With dual/triple programs the clock is separated by an A, B and C schedule. This allows you to put lawns on Program A, landscape on Program B and drip on Program C. Do not mistake these programs as the running time of your valves. Valves are assigned to stations. With dual programs make sure the running times are different or you'll have two stations coming on at the same time. For example; Program A & B come on simultaneously therefore resulting in lower volume and pressure leaving both stations with poor performance.

In some clocks the functional programs (running times, watering times and day selections) are all in one station. For example, station 1 programs running time (how long the water will run), wateringtimes (when the water will be turned on), and selected days the water comes on. Each station needs to be programmed individually.

A station turns on the automatic valve that you program for a certain time and day of the week. Example: If desired, station 1 is programmed to allow valve 1 to run for 8 minutes, station 2 is set so valve 2 runs for 15 minutes, and station 3 allows valve 3 to run for 5 minutes. None of the stations should be set with the same running times unless the irrigation types are the same. For example; Station 1 and Station 2 both have pop-ups that are watering the lawns so they can be set for the same watering time. Impacts, and single and multiple rotaries put out more water because they are designed to cover larger areas than pop-ups and risers.

Learn how to operate your clock both manually and automatically. When it rains turn your clock off. When you turn it back on-don't worry- your previous program will resume itself.

Some clocks are designed to use a rechargeable battery and some are not. If you lose power to your clock and the battery is dead you will lose the previous program so you will have to reprogram it. If your clock requires a non-rechargeable battery then we recommend changing it twice a year.

Water management works best when you have a clear understanding of all the functions of your irrigation clock. Setting your clock only one time and expecting it to get you through the year is a poor example of water management. Get in the habit of checking your clock monthly. Try your best to match your schedules to ours. Don't be afraid to use your clock because once you do you'll be happy and confident in knowing you can take a strong step in the water management of your home.

'Better Care Through Integrated Pest Management'


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