Glen Graye knows a thing or two about lawn irrigation. He should. Growing up as part of the Melnor family, known for its portable lawn sprinklers, Graye recalls that as a child, he was his father’s little helper at the major irrigation shows, probably even driving his Tonka trucks over a rough “terrain” of sprinkler parts – which at the time made for some interesting toys.
Today, as sales manager for Aquarius Irrigation in South Plainfield, New Jersey, Graye has found a new “toy” to play with at work: the MP Rotator. According to him, it’s more than entertaining and functional, it’s downright mesmerizing.
Graye prides himself on being able to find solutions to contractors’ landscape irrigation problems. With 20 years of experience as a licensed contractor, Graye has been exposed to many situations. “I get a lot of calls from landscape contractors, lighting specialists, and irrigation contractors. Some of them really don’t have a clue on how to design a job they’ve taken, so I help them out,” he said.
One particular call was about a large landscape project. “This contractor had a budget and knew the project criteria; however, he had never installed a sprinkler system,” Graye said. “He didn’t know how to put it together, but it was a $50,000 job and he didn’t want to give it up to another contractor. As he kept telling me about the project, I began to develop a few ideas on how I would approach it.”
The project had a swimming pool and low shrubbery to work around. The original design called for 13 zones to accommodate all of the twists and turns. Right away, Graye knew the system wouldn’t work with a 12-zone timer and that he needed to change the design. It was too costly to add in another timer and run another 500 feet of pipe to make it happen, so they needed to eliminate a zone.
Knowing that the site had only a 12 gpm flow rate to work with, Graye decided to use the MP Rotator. “What we ended up doing was eliminating two mist zones that had 18 heads, and replacing it with 10 MP2000 rotators around the pool, all in one zone.” The installation ended up taking the total number of heads from 14 spray heads down to nine MP Rotators, which allowed the use of only one 12-zone controller, and brought the project time and material costs down substantially. “We turned on zone one, tested it, and that was it.”
“It was awesome,” Graye recalled. “I was already familiar with the way the multi-trajectory, rotating streams looked, but seeing it around that pool was mesmerizing, with the landscape in the background. Then the owner came out to see it and practically wrote the check right there!”
Introduced in 2002, the MP Rotator is a matched-precipitation sprinkler head, meaning that the water is applied evenly throughout the zone even after arc and radius adjustment. “MP is great for creating better flow in a low-pressure situation,” Graye explained.
Graye said after that, everyone assumed that the rest of the job would be perfect, so they finished it up. “The contractor was ecstatic. He got his check and left very happy knowing he had something new to sell. And so did I.”
The installation was easy: take any standard pop-up body, and replace the sprinkler head with the MP Rotator. Arc and radius adjustments are easy and can solve a lot of issues for part of the system. Its high uniformity, lower application rate, and simplicity of design (it has only one moving part) are part of the formula that makes this work so well. While run times are increased to adjust for a lighter water application rate, when compared to conventional sprays, independent water audits have shown potential water savings of up to 30%. Run-off is minimized, since many soils absorb water slowly, keeping the landscape intact and conserving precious water resources.
Thirty years ago, it may have been trucks and sprinkler parts, but today Graye’s toy-of-choice at work is MP Rotator. “I was one of the first to jump on board,” he said. “It’s easy to work with, I like it, and it’s fun to watch.” With a toy like that, it almost doesn’t feel like work!