Last Saturday, I attended another class at Theodore Payne Foundation. This one, taught by Bob Galbreath, was titled Waterwise Irrigation for Native Plants. It was very well presented with fun graphics appearing as cut paper images on the slides. Was a nice albeit ironic way to spend a rainy December afternoon. The weather conditions highlighted how amazingly adapted many native plants are to almost boggy winter conditions contrasted with hot-parched, dry summers. Go natives!
Bob began his presentation by saying that irrigation for drought-adapted native plants should be thought of as a temporary system to use during plant establishment. However, he did spend some time on the subject of Smart Controllers and the admittedly “coarse” data upon which they are based. He touched on a variety of drip systems that will be covered in more detail in his Drip Irrigation class at TPF in January.
My conclusion is if a garden has mostly or exclusively drought-adapted native plants, it seems a Smart Controller may have very limited use. For my money, I’d rather use a simple “dumb” controller and a digital (finger) probe!
Learning about native plants, but little of my experience is yet in the garden. Haven’t yet installed a Smart Controller. Being very hands-on, I do a lot of poking around and hand watering, but that is probably not going to work for many clients of my garden design business. Hope to put out some of these plants soon, between rains!