Cold One Day, Hot the Next: How to Irrigate During La Nina

This is a La Nina year in Southwest Florida, and that means the weather can fluctuate dramatically from week to week, from hot to frigid. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, El Nino and La Nina events happen when there are fluctuations in temperature between the atmosphere in the East-Central Equatorial Pacific and the ocean. La Nina is the cold phase of this event and happens every two to seven years. Each episode of an El Nino or La Nina lasts on average nine to 12 months, but some can last for years. During a La Nina, winter temperatures are warmer than normal in the Southeast and cooler than normal in the Northwest.

So how do you irrigate your yard when the weather is so crazy?

The best way to accommodate the weather’s mood swings is by installing a smart controller on your irrigation system. At Coastal Irrigation & Plumbing, we recommend Hydrawise smart controllers and water management software that will automatically adjust your watering based on highly accurate, Internet-sourced local weather data. The system looks at the weather forecast for your area and historical averages for the time of year and adjusts the level of watering that happens accordingly.

Called Predictive Watering, the controllers fine-tune your irrigation system daily, saving on the amount of water a property uses, time, and money. Because the system is controlled from a web browser or the Hydrawise iPhone or Android apps, you can monitor and control your sprinkler system from anywhere in the world, as long as you have access to the Internet.

Without a smart controller, it is nearly impossible to keep up with Florida’s fickle weather patterns. Smart controllers allow your sprinkler system to adjust on the fly and change run times and days, automatically. If it rains, your system will turn itself off.

The graphical touchscreen interface of the smart controller makes programming your irrigation system a breeze, even without Internet connectivity, and homeowners can install and program the device within minutes. The software makes understanding a watering schedule easy and even allows for advanced scheduling to meet the needs of municipal watering restrictions and to allow for additional watering in places where you’ve planted new grass or vegetation.

The Hydrawise Ready controller supports flow meters, rain sensors, master valves, and lighting programs. A number of flow meters are available to help homeowners take advantage of advanced water-saving features. When paired with the smart irrigation controller, they also provide reports on water usage so you can adjust your system accordingly. Some areas may not be getting enough moisture, while others might be getting waterlogged. These meters will also alert you if there is a break or failure in the system.

Florida’s dry season

The National Weather Service predicts that there is an 85% chance of La Nina conditions through the winter months and a 60% chance of it continuing into Spring 2021, so it is more important than ever that you evaluate your irrigation system and make any necessary changes now.

Florida’s dry season started in mid-October and will continue through May. This is the time of year when your plants and lawn come under the most stress. A properly designed sprinkler system should have a variety of water release options to meet the demands or neighborhood watering restrictions while at the same time, providing just the right amount of water to your lawn and vegetation.

All of Coastal Irrigation & Plumbing’s irrigation systems come with adjustable timers, flow control irrigation heads, and drip irrigation.

Our specialties include irrigation repairs; sprinkler head replacements; irrigation installation; replacements and re-routing of existing systems; irrigation well pumps; digital irrigation controllers; Wi-Fi irrigation controllers; and worry-free annual maintenance plans. We also take care of lawn care treatments, tree and shrub care, and indoor pest control. Call us to get a free estimate today.