The Irrigation Show & Education Conference always produces a host of new products and ideas that help contractors save time and labor while also helping their customers keep their landscapes beautiful and healthy while also conserving water.

In our continuing effort to bring you the most information from the show, here are some more significant new products that you can look forward to using this next season.

Luxor ZD’s Dimming Capabilities
The Luxor ZD is a new landscape lighting controller for LED systems from FX Luminaire. What makes the Luxor ZD unique to the market is that it provides zoning and dimming capabilities from a single, easy-to-use controller with a full color digital interface.

Zoning allows lights to be programmed into preset vignettes, which can be activated for special occasions such as parties or activities such as barbequing. Dimming allows LED lights to automatically emit any desired illumination percentage anytime, anywhere within a system. So, Group 1 can be set to 100 percent illumination at 7 p.m., and automatically shift to 60 percent at 9 p.m., and so on. Up to 250 groups that can be created, so the designer has a high degree of flexibility when creating a system.

The Luxor utilizes FX’s proprietary ZD technology, which allows the controller to “talk” to the LED lights and alerts them to adjust their illumination based on events scheduled in the controller. It is applicable to both residential and commercial projects. To learn more visit

Rain Bird ESP-RZX
Homeowners often have difficulty programming their controllers, expecting contractors to return to their residences and reprogram the controller correctly. The result? Wasted time, lost revenue and frustrated customers. Now, Rain Bird is solving that problem by introducing the ESP-RZX, a residential controller that’s quick for contractors to program and simple for homeowners to understand.

“The ESP-RZX is one of the fastest controllers for a contractor to program on the market today,” says Jed Price, Rain Bird’s product manager for controllers. “However, as a former contractor, I think that the best part of this controller is the fact that Rain Bird has taken on the burden of training the homeowner on its use. This frees contractors to move on to the next job quickly and greatly reduces the number of callbacks to the site.”

To teach homeowners how to use the ESP-RZX, Rain Bird created short, easy-to-understand online training videos that can be accessed, 24/7, 365 days a year. A sticky note on the front of all new ESP-RZX controllers directs customers to a specific website for training. A permanent reference sticker on the controller includes both the website address and a scannable QR code that takes customers directly to the homeowner reference website on their Web-enabled mobile devices.

“Setting up the controller is very similar to using a television DVR-something with which most people are quite familiar,” Price explains. “However, homeowners who have questions or want more instructions can view our videos at their convenience. Even better, they have a permanent reminder of these videos that they can see each time they look at the controller.”

Available in four-, six- and eight-zone models, the ESP-RZX includes a number of timesaving features that enable contractors to quickly complete the installation process and move on to the next job. The controller is programmable under battery power, allowing contractors to program it anywhere and anytime it’s most convenient for them.

Contractor Rapid Programming automatically copies the watering start times and dates from zone one to all other zones during the controller’s initial set-up, just like any traditional controller. Zone-to-zone copying makes it possible to copy a zone program to the next zone, and Contractor Default saves a contractor’s custom program into the ESP-RZX’s memory-each with only two pushes of a button. Other programming features include six user-defined start times per zone, flexible watering day options per zone and a weather sensor bypass for all zones or by individual zone.
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Rain Bird RD1800 Sprays
Irrigation system components are often subjected to high water pressure, chemically treated recycled water or even dirty water containing grit, debris and other particulates. Rain Bird’s new RD1800 Series Sprays take on all of these challenges with ease.

The RD1800 builds upon the reputation of Rain Bird’s 1800 Series Sprays. The RD1800 Series features an exclusive co-molded, pressure-activated Triple-Blade Wiper Seal to ensure a positive seal without excess “flow-by.” This seal enables more heads to be installed on the same valve while optimizing performance and durability at pop-up and retraction. The RD1800 can handle operating pressures ranging from 15 to 100 PSI, and when outfitted with Rain Bird’s optional PRS pressure-regulating device, the spray delivers consistent outlet pressure regardless of inlet pressure fluctuations.

Sprays are often at high risk for damage and vandalism, sometimes causing a tremendous loss of water and damaging erosion before the problem is detected. That’s why Rain Bird also designed the RD1800 to include patent-pending Flow-Shield Technology. When a nozzle is removed, this feature reduces the amount of water flowing through the stem by up to 90 percent compared to an average spray and up to 50 percent when compared to a typical pressure-regulating spray.
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Rain Bird Micro Pop-Ups
Irrigation customers are seeking cost-effective ways to maintain beautiful landscapes and abide by local watering restrictions. Rain Bird’s new NT Series Micro Pop-Ups offer contractors and their customers an ideal solution to irrigate non-turf areas. By combining the water efficiency of low volume irrigation with the trenchless installation of drip irrigation and the proven reliability of a Rain Bird spray head, the NT Series provides the best of all worlds.

“We designed the NT Series Micro Pop-Ups specifically for use in non-turf areas like median strips, flower beds and long, narrow plantings,” says Don Clark, Rain Bird principal product manager. “Time studies have shown that the NT Series is much faster, requires less inventory and is much easier to install than other traditional systems. As a result, contractors can accomplish more in less time, passing on some of those labor savings to their customers, while profitably growing their businesses. And, because the NT Series features two styles of nozzles with flow rates of 30 gallons per hour or less, the NT meets the industry standard definition of a “micro-irrigation” device, making it ideal for those markets facing irrigation restrictions.”

Available in 6- and 12-inch pop-up heights, each of NT Series’ six models comes from the factory pre-nozzled with a 5H Micro-Spray Nozzle. Inlet and outlet barb fittings are molded into each body to make the NT quick and easy to inter-connect to one another using Rain Bird’s XF Series Drip Tubing. Patent-pending stabilizer ribs molded onto the outside of the NT Series body secure the unit firmly within the soil. A low nozzle trajectory minimizes wind drift, while a unique in-stem nozzle flow and radius adjustment mechanism makes it easy to adjust the nozzle flow and radius to the desired specification.

Each Micro Pop-Up accepts one of six NT Series Micro-Spray Nozzle patterns or one of seven NT Series Micro-Stream Nozzle Patterns. The Micro-Spray Nozzles provide a uniform wetted pattern over a specified area. The patent-pending micro-ramp design assures that each NT Series Micro-Spray Nozzle delivers a strong, crisp edge on each side of the wetted pattern, keeping water on target. The Micro-Stream Nozzles deliver between 3 and 12 discreet streams of water directly to plant root zones. Using the in-stem adjustment mechanism, users can adjust the nozzle streams from 0.5 to 2.5 gallons per hour, and from a one inch to a 42-inch radius.

“With no trenching or cutting and gluing of pipe required, the NT Series is up to 70 percent faster to install than traditional spray head systems,” Clark says. “Simply dig a hole where each pop-up will go, attach the XF Series Drip Tubing to the pop-up’s body, place the pop-up back in the hole and backfill with soil. After turning on the system to verify coverage, cover the tubing with mulch. That’s all there is to it.”
Rain Bird’s new NT Series Micro Pop-Ups give contractors and their customers a quick, innovative, cost-effective and water-efficient option that keeps non-turf areas beautiful with less water. To learn more, visit

Rain Bird Reverse-Flow HV Valve
Rain Bird’s new reverse-flow HV Valve is making it possible for contractors to stay competitive by combining an exceptionally affordable low price with long-lasting, reliable performance.

“Our new HV Valve gives contractors and their customers everything they could want in a valve,” says Paul Lierheimer, Rain Bird’s marketing manager for residential products. “We built the HV with the features that the market demands, but at a price point that fits within even the tightest budgets.”

With a compact 2.54-inch spin radius and fewer screws, the HV Valve is simpler to install and service than competing valves. The valve’s screws are also “captive,” meaning that they can be fully loosened with a Phillips, hex or flat-head screwdriver but not completely removed from the valve’s body. This feature eliminates the possibility of losing the screws somewhere in the landscape during installation or maintenance.

The valve’s heavy-duty construction ensures hassle-free performance for years to come, even in the most challenging environments. If a rare valve failure should occur, the HV Valve’s reverse-flow design guarantees that it fails in the closed position to prevent flooding, water waste and landscape damage.

“We engineered the HV Valve for top performance under any conditions,” Lierheimer says. “We’ve tested it extensively, and the results show that this valve will stand up to the watering needs of any landscape. In fact, our tests proved that when the HV Valve is exposed to repeated pressure spikes of 200 PSI, it lasted two to four times as long as similar competing valves.”
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Rain Bird ET Manager Cartridge
Rain Bird introduces a simple, fast and cost-effective way to upgrade its popular ESP-LX Modular Controller to an evapotranspiration (ET) and weather-based system: the ET Manager Cartridge.

The ET Manager Cartridge easily mounts inside an existing ESP-LX Modular Controller with no tools, saving both time and money. The cartridge receives hourly weather information from a local Weather Reach Signal Provider (WRSP). Using temperature, wind speed and rainfall information along with any site-specific settings, the ET Manager Cartridge automatically adjusts watering schedules and run times with its Seasonal Adjust feature.

The ET Manager Cartridge also gives the ESP-LX Modular Controller the ability to display real-time weather conditions and log all system activity, including interrupt history, weather information and irrigation events, showing the amount of water applied and the number of days watered.

The ET Manager Cartridge offers a variety of other outstanding benefits. Its ET technology eliminates the need for irrigation contractors to travel to controller sites to make weather-based adjustments or programming changes. Using the ET Manager Cartridge with the ESP-LX Modular Controller can also translate to a 30 to 50 percent water savings by eliminating watering in wet or windy conditions. Four separate moisture balance settings efficiently water various plant types, keeping them healthy by not over-watering or under-watering.

Because of the ESP-LX Modular Controller’s unmatched flexibility, installation takes only a few minutes. Simply open the controller’s outer door, mount the ET Manager Receiver to the top of the controller case, remove the access plate from the back of the front panel, connect the necessary wires and snap in the cartridge. There’s no need to power down, and an easy-to-use set-up wizard walks users through all the key parameter settings.

“The ESP-LX Modular Controller has always been a flexible, reliable and user-friendly choice for residential and commercial applications,” says Jeremy Schalk, marketing group manager for Rain Bird. “The new ET Manager Cartridge upgrade takes the ESP-LX Modular’s water efficiency to a new level, saving both time and money by eliminating the need to purchase and install a separate weather-based controller.”
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Toro T7 Series Rotors
The Toro Company introduces Low-Flow models of the T7 Series Rotors for short radius/low flow applications, such as baseball infields. These low-flow models include all the features and benefits of the standard models including, Smart Arc memory to safely return the sprinkler to its previously set arc in case of vandalism, top arc setting indicator for easy wet or dry adjustments from 45 to 360 degrees, full 5-inch pop-up height to nozzle, and single-port nozzles that ensure even distribution without putting too much water near the head, thus preventing seeds from washing away.

Most irrigation designs specify the use of multiple rotor platforms to cover the various flow and radius requirements on different portions of an irrigated area. For example, on a typical baseball field, the infield requires a rotor with a shorter throw and faster rotation time than the ones in the outfield. This requires the specification of a different rotor platform in the infield from the outfield, resulting in the maintenance of multiple service tools and parts, and the training of personnel in different adjustment and maintenance methods.

All that can be avoided by having a common rotor platform to cover all the irrigation needs of a single irrigation site. “This is where the T7 Low-Flow comes in. By being able to cover a radius range of 38 to 56 feet and flow range of 1.7 to 12.7 GPM, the T7 Series can be used as the standard rotor for the entire irrigation design. Granted, sprinkler maintenance is not rocket science, but having a single rotor for the entire field certainly simplifies the upkeep and saves time,” says Hyok Lee, product manager with Toro Irrigation.

While retaining all the features and benefits of the standard High-Flow T7, the Low-Flow T7 is able to cover the shorter radius and lower-flow requirements, and the special low-flow stator ensures effective rotation. The Low-Flow T7 is also available in stainless-steel riser and with effluent indicator. The operating specifications are radius range of 38 to 56 feet, flow range of 1.73 to 12.74 GPM, variable, reversing-low flow stator, and a range of low-flow nozzles in 2, 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5 and 9 GPM. The 3 GPM nozzles are preinstalled on low-flow versions.

By standardizing on a common rotor platform for the entire irrigation design, maintenance is simplified and overall costs of the irrigation system are potentially lowered. For more information visit

Toro Precision Spray Nozzles
The Toro Company offers a pressure-compensating feature to the Precision Series Spray Nozzles. Designed to operate in both male- and female-threaded nozzles, this latest offering keeps the Precision Series Spray Nozzle operating at optimal water pressure even with fluctuating inlet pressures.

The Toro Precision Series Spray Nozzle with exclusive H2O Chip Technology represents the most significant breakthrough in spray nozzle technology in over 60 years. The sole-sourced technology for the campaign delivers a significantly lower precipitation rate than traditional fixed or variable arc nozzles, expands the selection of arc choices for increased precision, and conserves water through better edge definition and improved wind.

Nearly all spray nozzles perform best at or around 30 PSI, but when pressures rise to 50 to 70 PSI, even the best nozzles mist and perform less than optimally. That’s where the Pressure-Compensation comes in. It reduces the pressure to the more optimal 30 PSI and keeps it close to that pressure, even when the inlet’s water pressure fluctuates.  It compensates for higher inlet pressure by closing a flow orifice to drop the pressure further, and also compensates by opening the orifice if that inlet pressure were to drop.

“The Pressure-Compensating Precision Series Spray Nozzle is a great, low-cost alternative to a pressure-regulated spray head or pressure-regulating valve,” says Lee. “At a fraction of the cost of a regulated spray head, it will eliminate most of the problems associated with high water pressure conditions, such as misting and poor distribution.”

Pressure-Compensating Precision Series Spray Nozzles look, install and adjust like conventional spray nozzles, but they perform more like rotors. And, Toro’s H2O Chip Technology lets them achieve distances of throw equivalent to those of conventional spray nozzles, but with one-third less flow and higher overall irrigation efficiency.

The Pressure-Compensating Precision Series Spray Nozzles are available in models with a radius of between 5 and 15 feet, and the nozzle tops are color-coded to indicate the specific radius. To further distinguish them from the standard, non-Pressure-Compensating versions, the molded-in Toro logo is stamped in red, versus the normal white. They are available in models with six different arcs between 90 and 360 degrees, in addition to side strips and corner strips.
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Toro Pro Sneak 360 Vibratory Plow
The Toro Company offers the Pro Sneak 360 Vibratory Plow. A few of the features of the Pro Sneak 360 include: a small footprint, at only 36 inches wide; an optimized operator position that ensures safety and provides maximum visibility of the job site and all four tires; and, consistent plowing up to 24-inches deep maintained by positive hydraulic down pressure, regardless of the terrain. The Pro Sneak 360 also features 10-degree frame oscillation to ensure constant wheel-to-ground contact when plowing in problematic conditions.

“We have always carried an extensive line of equipment for irrigation and utility contractors and now with the launch of the Pro Sneak 360, we have a ride-on, powerful, and productive option to offer those same folks,” says Neil Borenstein, senior marketing manager of Toro SiteWorks Systems Business.

Equally exceptional when it comes to trenching, the Pro Sneak 360 boasts an optional front-mounted trencher that delivers a dig depth of up to 36 inches. Driven by a Caterpillar C1.6 four-cylinder, liquid-cooled diesel engine, the Pro Sneak ensures dependable power and productivity whether trenching or plowing.
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Toro Upgrades Trenchers
Toro has upgraded its compact equipment line with the new TRX-16 and TRX-20 walk-behind trenchers, replacing the TRX-15 and TRX-19 models. Along with the Toro TRX-26 model, these gas-powered machines make trenching easier with a tracked design and operator-friendly controls.

The 16 hp and 20 hp TRX models are equipped with four-cycle Kawasaki twin-cylinder engines with a large oil reservoir to help maintain low engine temperature and prolong engine life. Delivering 10 GPM of hydraulic flow at 2,900 PSI to the boom helps maximize digging efficiency. Each unit is also equipped with a standard hydraulic oil cooler that provides a cooler running machine in the most demanding conditions.

 “One of the features that make it popular among contractors and rental stores is the easy-to-use-control system,” says Greg Lawrence for Toro compact utility equipment. Three basic controls operate all traction and trenching functions and eliminate the ‘jerk’ steering operators might feel with other trenchers that have handlebar steering. It is also the same control system we use on our TX compact utility loaders and STX stump grinders.”

Engineered with a low-profile tracked design, the Toro TRX models provide a low center of gravity for performance on a wide range of ground conditions. “Even on side hills and uneven terrain, these tracks deliver added stability and traction,” says Lawrence. “Plus, the TRX models have a light footprint. With ground pressure as low as 4.1 PSI, operators don’t have to worry about damage to existing turf during transport.”

Contractors will also benefit from the cross-trenching capability of the TRX models. Tracks help the operator maneuver over perpendicular trenches effortlessly, where wheeled units may get stuck in the existing trench. “It’s rare that someone will only need to trench in straight lines, so the ability to cross-trench is important,” Lawrence says. “At any place where there’s a manifold intersection, a valve box or a T-fitting, the operator may need to cross the trench several times. With a TRX, the tracks prevent the machine from getting caught in the trench.”

The Toro TRX trenchers can be outfitted with a 24-, 36- or 48-inch boom. All three models offer chain widths of 4 or 6 inches, and the TRX-26 has an additional 8-inch chain configuration.

There are also several performance-enhancing accessories available for the Toro TRX trenchers. The backfill blade mounts directly to the trencher and locks into place with a simple pin mechanism. The boring attachment quickly makes the dedicated trencher a multipurpose machine capable of drilling under sidewalks and driveways. Toro’s custom TRX trailer features integral tie-down system to secure the machine without additional straps or chains and helps deliver the Toro TRX trencher to the jobsite safely.
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Toro TRX-26 Walk-Behind Trencher
Toro extends its line of dedicated walk-behind trenchers with the introduction of the Toro TRX-26. Boasting a 26 hp Kawasaki engine, the TRX-26 is ideal for utility workers, irrigation contractors and plumbers looking for the power of a ride-on trencher, with the maneuverability and control of a walk-behind.

“Based on feedback we received from contractors, we found there was a growing demand for a larger, more powerful walk-behind trencher,” says Greg Lawrence, Toro product marketing manager. “To fill the gap between ride-ons and smaller walk-behinds, Toro designed the TRX-26 to be powerful, yet easy to use.”

The tracked walk-behind trencher market has grown since Toro first introduced the TRX-15 and TRX-19, but Toro’s line of TRX models still stands out for its ease of use and overall performance. Operator-friendly controls make the TRX models more productive and easier to learn and operate than many competitors’ tracked walk-behind trenchers, and a lower center of gravity means more stability on hills and uneven terrain. With many of the same features as the popular Toro TRX-15 and TRX-19 models, the TRX-26 makes trenching more efficient without putting any extra strain on the operator.

The patented Toro Dingo TX-style control system on the TRX-26 makes it easy to control and eliminates the “jerk” steering required with handlebar control steering, allowing for smoother, more precise trenching. Three simple controls operate all traction and trenching functions, making the TRX-26 much easier to use and learn than other trenchers. And with its zero-turn capability and ground pressure as low as 4.1 PSI, the TRX-26 has the ability to access confined spaces without damaging existing turf.

Contractors will also enjoy the low-profile tracked design of the TRX-26, which provides a low center of gravity and a large footprint for increased stability and added traction on hills and uneven terrain. The tracked design also gives the TRX-26 excellent cross-trenching capabilities. “Tracks help the operator maneuver over perpendicular trenches effortlessly, where wheeled units may get stuck in the existing trench. It’s rare that someone will only need to trench in straight lines, so the ability to cross-trench is important,” says Lawrence.

The TRX-26 can be outfitted with Toro’s 2-, 3- or 4-foot boom attachments, allowing it to trench up to 8 inches wide and up to 48 inches deep. With multiple boom options, contractors can choose the right size boom for their specific job, whether that’s the 4-foot boom for installing utility lines or the 2-foot boom for irrigation or drain tile applications. Other available options for the TRX-26 include soil chain, combo chain, crumber and backfill blade attachments.
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Unique Lighting
Unique Lighting Systems announces new products and an expansion of the FLEX Series LED lamps.

New products include the Light Logic Wireless Control System featuring scene lighting control. Light Logic includes Lighting Interface, Lighting Control Unit and hand-held remote for direct control in the field.  Light Logic is compatible with standard FLEX Series LED lamps and halogen lamped lighting fixtures. Easily retrofit existing installations with this cost-effective lighting control system. The plug and play Lighting Control Unit installs easily into Unique Lighting System transformers. Programming is completed with the Lighting Interface and will control up to four scenes.

The FLEX Series LED lamp family is also expanding. New products include a group of 24-volt LED lamps, new beam spreads for the current 12 volt lamps, additional 5000K color temperature lamps and a two Watt MR11 lamp.  Also introduced is a new 2-watt water-resistant T3 lamp, great for installations with exposed lamp environments.

Unique Lighting Systems also announces Tru-Core Technology. Tru-Core Technology means that Unique Lighting transformers are engineered and built in its own factories to stringent specifications, every time. Based on over 50 years of combined manufacturing and design experience, true to the core value is built into their transformers by using only the highest quality solid copper windings and interlocked precision steel laminates, resulting in diminished hum and extremely low no-load amperages.
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