How to Cut Turf to Size

Posted on 14th August 2013 in Installations, Just For Fun, Products, Turf

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If you’re laying turf then inevitably you will need to trim it at some point.

There are many ways to do this, but we have found the steak knife to be the most effective way. But not any old steak knife. Most knives will cut wintergreen and the softer turfs, but if you want to cut thru Sir Walter then you will need something more solid.

We have found homemaker knives from K Mart to be the best as they are a strong one piece stainless steel knife. But good luck finding any as they seem to be a discontinued line. I bought the last 26 boxes in Perth!

By my reckoning there should be another 7 years of turf laying left there…

Flow Control Solenoid Valves

Posted on 11th June 2013 in Products, solenoids

So what’s the difference between an ordinary solenoid valve and one with flow control?

 

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Basically its the large ‘dial’ in the middle that you can turn to adjust the rate at which water flows thru the valve. You may choose to use one of these if you have a small station and do not want you retic operating at full capacity.

For example some people have a small veggie patch that needs some very specific watering. Rather than adding the veggies patch to the lawn station or to other garden beds they would irrigate it separately. In that instance it may be necessary to reduce the flow and use this type of valve.

Any alternative is to use an inline tap to reduce to flow.

X Core Hybrid Controllers

Posted on 2nd November 2012 in Controllers, Installing, Never Seen That One Before, Products

This is the control box you would use if you have no access to mains power. It is totally battery operated and does not require a 240v supply.

I came across one of these in Butler this week and only realised when we arrived that it was a hybrid. The trick here is that none of your regular 24v solenoids will work with it, so because we were laying retic and turf that day it meant a frantic search to locate some DC latching solenoids.

In the end Total Eden in Balcatta had 3 we needed so it was long drive there and back to make it work. I’m not sure why anyone would use one of these in Suburbia where power is not an issue. The other thing to remember with these controllers is that the solenoids are expensive. You will pay $80.00 for each solenoid rather than the regular $30.00 so it adds to the cost of the job.

I believe you can use regular Hunter valves and simply change the coil to DC latching, but I haven’t tested that method.

Next time I’ll be making a note of whether the controller is AC or DC!

 

How to Install Sprinklers by The Kerb

Posted on 13th May 2012 in Installations, Installing, Products, sprinklers

 

The first time I did some DIY retic I tried to install my kerbside sprinklers by digging along the line of the kerb.

Big mistake!

After 10 minutes I had all but given up. You see the soil along the kerb is actually roadbase. It is hard and rocky and not easy digging. If you want to install sprinklers along the kerb then dig a trench one metre away from the kerb and parallel to it and then ‘t’ off to the point where you need sprinklers. You will still need to do some hard digging but it will save you a lot of effort and you will do the job right.

The other tip with kerbside sprinklers is to make sure they are well below kerb height – because they will get driven over. If you’re lucky they won’t get damaged, but if they are even sticking up a little bit then expect to replace them regularly.

I get calls from one client a few times each summer to replace the same sprinkler. Personally I reckon it would be easier just to sink the sprinkler a bit lower…

Running Sprinklers off a Bore

Posted on 22nd February 2012 in bore, Products, sprinklers

Which sprinklers should you run from a bore?

You have a couple of things to consider:

a) Flow rate: often bores allow you to run much greater numbers of sprinklers than a standard mains pressure system. 80l/min is normal as opposed to 30 off the mains.

b) Pump run time: every minute your bore is running is costing you money in electricity and wear and tear on your pump.

That said you don’t want to simply be governed by the cheapest option. In my own backyard I have 3 different types of sprinklers running. We have 4 big heavy duty gear drives on the verge, regular pop ups in the garden beds and then MP rotators in the lawn areas. It means the pump runs for aprox 2 hours each time it comes on, but we have chosen sprinklers that will fit the areas and do the best job.

 

 

Controller Manuals

Posted on 24th January 2012 in Controllers, Installations, Local Knowledge, Products

 

Not sure how to set your control box and lost the manual?

Then just check this page and you may well find your box listed and them manual that is required.

How Many Sprinklers Can I Get on One Station?

Posted on 31st December 2011 in Installations, nozzles, Products

Yeah… that’s one of those questions that you can’t answer quite so easily…

The things to consider are:

– what is your water flow rate?

– what type of nozzle are you using?

– what type of sprinkler?

In most suburbs I work on around 30l/min flow rate but in places like Yanchep it can be as low as 18l/m or The Green in Butler it is around 22L/M.

From there you work out how many regular pop-ups you can fit on a line. For example a 12ft Toro pop-up nozzle with a 180 degree spray uses 4l/m, a 90 degree spray 2l/m and a whole spray 8l/m. However a 15 ft nozzle with increase water usage and a 10ft will decrease.

Then if you use MP Rotators you decrease water usage again but increase your spray distance…

So if you want to get it right then talk to someone who understands these variables or get a specification chart that can guide you in your planning. I have been to plenty of homes where the sprinklers are functioning poorly because the wrong kinds of sprinklers have been used.

 

 

 

How Long Do I Put My Reticulation on For?

Posted on 16th December 2011 in Ideas, Products, sprinklers, What's Going on There?

This is not a question with a simple answer, because the response depends on the type of sprinklers you are using and how they apply water.

The goal is to get 10ml of water to your lawn/garden each time they operate so different nozzles will require different run times. For example regular pop-ups can be run for around 12 minutes to apply 10mls.

Toro precision nozzles need to be left on for around 25 mins to get the same result. Then there are the MP Rotators which need 45-50 mins to deliver 10mls.

 

There are specs for each type of sprinkler available from the manufacturers or your retic guy can help you make sense of it. Here’s an example of how to find the answer. The chart shows that PGP needs to be on for 60 mins to apply 10ml.

The important thing is to remember that not all sprinklers deliver water at the same rate.

 

How to Cut PVC Pipe (Easily)

Posted on 1st June 2011 in Ideas, Products, Tools

You can use the good ole hacksaw, but there is a better way.

The hacksaw leaves burred edges and can be unwieldy, but a good set of PVC cutters will slice thru PVC and black poly easily and give a clean cut every time.

They last for ages and you can pick up a pair at any retic shop. Most cutters suit up to 25ml pipe, but you can get some that will do up to 40ml pipe also.

Why Choose Soft Leaf Buffalo?

Posted on 20th May 2011 in Ideas, Products, Sir Walter Turf, Turf

I received a pamphlet in the mail today from Westland turf, one of the turf suppliers I use and these were the reasons they gave:

 

a) Buffalo Grass is much more tolerant of the alkaline soils than is couch grass and is highly suitable for Perth’s coastal suburbs.

b) Buffalo Grass has been shown in trials to require no more water than couch grass to maintain colour

c) No scalp marks and can be mowed with a rotary mower

d) Buffalo Grass produces no underground stems (rhizomes) and because it only spread by surface runners (stolons). It is easy to keep out of garden beds.

e) These soft leaf varieties provide a non-itching surface and a very comfortable lawn.

f) Buffalo Grass requires less fertiliser and mowing than couch grass.