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Get smart (water-wise) with this $150 rebate

Use your smartphone and the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller to keep your irrigation in sync with the weather. (Photo courtesy RWA)

Regional Water Authority offers great deal on smart sprinkler controller

Considering how our spring weather has been bouncing from cold and wet to hot and dry, here’s a timely offer: A great rebate on a “smart” sprinkler controller.

Local residents can now save $150 (or more) on a Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller, thanks to an instant rebate program offered by the Regional Water Authority and Sacramento-area water providers.

Representing 21 local water providers serving about 2 million customers, the RWA always has an eye on reducing water consumption. A smart controller such as the Rachio 3 can save an estimated 13,500 gallons of water per year for a typical Sacramento household.

How does it work? The Rachio 3 Controller acts like a thermostat for your sprinklers, using local weather conditions to adjust how long your sprinklers run, explains Amy Talbot, RWA water efficiency program manager. The controller automatically reduces sprinkler run times when the weather is cooler and increases them when the temperatures rise. You also can manage the controller from your smartphone with the Rachio app.

The Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller typically retails for about $230 for an eight-zone system and $280 for a 16-zone system, but both models are being offered at a reduced rate of $75 plus tax. (Installation is not included.)

This deal is available for a limited time on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is exhausted. Rebate details, eligibility requirements and a link to purchase the controller are available at .


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 26:

Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help corral blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.

To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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