Smart irrigation technology is one of the best ways to save time, money and water while maintaining beautiful, healthy landscapes. Until recently, however, cost and complexity have made smart technology impractical for use in many residential or light commercial applications. Now, the new SMRT-Y Soil Moisture Sensor Kit from Rain Bird has the power to change that by giving contractors an easier, more affordable way to upgrade both new and existing irrigation systems to smart technology.
After the SMRT-Y (pronounced “smart why”) is installed, its digital sensor measures absolute soil moisture levels every ten minutes and relays that information back to the SMRT-Y controller interface. When soil moisture levels are above a pre-determined threshold, the controller interface interrupts the irrigation schedule that’s been programmed into the system’s timer. If the sensor recognizes dry soil conditions, the system’s next watering cycle will proceed as originally scheduled. This closed-loop feedback process means that actual plant and turf conditions at the roots are being communicated back to the controller for a truly accurate snapshot of a landscape’s moisture needs.

The SMRT-Y consists of two basic components: a digital in-ground sensor and a special SMRT-Y controller interface that mounts next to the system’s irrigation timer. Constructed from high-grade 304 stainless steel, the SMRT-Y’s advanced TDT (Time Domain Transmissometry) digital sensor offers accuracy and long-lasting durability that can withstand the harshest outdoor conditions. The SMRT-Y’s digital controller interface features an electronic panel with touchpad keys that allow users to display soil conditions (moisture, temperature and electrical conductivity), moisture threshold, and history of the last seven irrigation cycles. Together, these two components provide contractors with an economical, easy-to-install irrigation system add-on that can deliver significant water savings of 40% or more.
According to Rick Foster, senior product manager for Rain Bird’s Accessories Division, the new SMRT-Y soil moisture sensor is built to outlast and outperform all other soil moisture sensors on the market. “The SMRT-Y can monitor absolute, rather than relative, moisture levels.  That makes it very different and more reliable than other soil moisture sensors on the market today,” Foster explained. “It’s unaffected by temperature fluctuations or soil chemistry changes, variables that have historically compromised the accuracy of other soil moisture sensors.”
Capable of interfacing with any irrigation timer, contractors can install and activate the SMRT-Y in just a few easy steps. The first step is to bury the SMRT-Y’s sensor component in a suitable location within the landscape and then wire it to any irrigation valve. After wiring the SMRT-Y controller interface to the system’s irrigation timer, users can activate the product’s “auto-set” feature to establish the lawn’s unique moisture threshold.
Because the SMRT-Y offers water savings of 40% or more, it can often pay for itself in less than a year–and the benefits don’t stop there. “Due to its unique ability to provide closed-loop feedback, the SMRT-Y Soil Moisture Sensor Kit allows the landscape to virtually ‘tell’ the irrigation system when it needs water,” Foster added. “This technology helps homeowners avoid the common tendency to overwater their lawns, making it much easier to sustain healthy landscapes that are less susceptible to fungus and shallow root growth.”  
The SMRT-Y Soil Moisture Sensor Kit also gives contractors an opportunity to reach out to existing customers and offer an easy upgrade that can make an immediate, positive impact upon landscapes and the amount of water used to maintain them. For more information about Rain Bird’s SMRT-Y Soil Moisture Sensor Kit or any of Rain Bird’s other quality irrigation accessories, visit www.rainbird.com or call 1-800-RAINBIRD.

SportsField Management