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Evaluation of Two Smart Irrigation Technologies in Cary, North Carolina

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20 - June 23, 2010  1009581.(doi:10.13031/2013.29936)
Authors:   Mayank Nautiyal, Garry L Grabow, Grady L Miller, Rodney L Huffman
Keywords:   Soil moisture sensor, Irrigation controllers, evapotranspiration, residential irrigation, water use, turfgrass quality, irrigation scheduling

Decreasing the amount of water applied by residential irrigation systems without causing negative effects on turfgrass quality is a challenge. A variety of technologies are available in the market that seeks to reduce irrigation water use. These technologies include rain sensors, and soil moisture sensor (SMS) based and evapotranspiration (ET) based controllers. A study was conducted in Cary, North Carolina with the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness of two smart systems, based on the amount of irrigation applied and turf quality in residential settings. The study included 24 residential sites that were divided into six geographical regions, each group within a region receiving four different treatments. The treatments were: SMS) an irrigation controller with a soil moisture sensor, ET) an evapotranspiration based controller, ED) a standard irrigation controller using seasonal runtimes based on historical climate data and Control) irrigation controller with no intervention. Data was collected from May 2009 through September 2009. Maximum water savings were achieved by the SMS treatment followed by ET, ED and Control treatments. According to visual turfgrass rating, only the Control group was found to have turf quality below an acceptable level.

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