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Is my new irrigation system working properly?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Powers, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. Powers

    Powers Tele-Meister

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    I just had a sprinkler system put in to make sure our new shrubs survive, but am concerned the drip irrigation in our flower beds isn't delivering enough water.

    I first noticed small wet circles about 6" in diameter around each emitter, and asked the installer about it when he came back the next day. He said this is likely because it was only set to run for 40 minutes, whereas he would recommend 1hr 15min. So tonight I ran them for an hour and 15 minutes, but the wet circles are just barely larger than before!

    Do I need to have him come check this out, or is this normal? All I wanted to was to make sure the beds got better and more consistent watering than I could provide by hand, but it's looking like nothing is getting watered unless it happens to be right next to an emitter!
     

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    Last edited: Aug 7, 2013
  2. Brad Pittiful

    Brad Pittiful Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    the pic is askew!
     
  3. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The premise behind Drip Irrigation is something like this: Place the Emitters at the farthest reaches of each individual plant's Canopy.
    These Emitters are rated at Gallons per HOUR. When placed properly, they need to run for several Hours to be effective.


    From what you have shown us, it looks like they are watering your Bark Dust.

    These systems have a Pressure Reducer (Fed from a user-serviceable Filter) that takes your Household pressure and drops it to a very Low PSI.

    I don't like what I see.
    Somebody has some S'plaining to do.
     
  4. SPUDCASTER

    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Looks like you have a type of "Netafim" drip system installed.

    It has emitter points about every foot or so. In this case you will need to leave the system run longer until you have the bed saturated accordingly. as the emitters are not centrally located per plant.

    A 1/2" poly pipe with the appropriate emitters per plant(1gal/hr) may be more effective.

    Your type of piping is used around tree driplines in a circular pattern.
     
  5. mefgames

    mefgames Friend of Leo's Double Platinum Supporter

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    Your new system is doing exactly what it is designed to do. Imagine a bucket full of water with a small hole in the bottom. The water drips out slowly leaving a small footprint that is deeper encouraging plant roots to grow deeper making the plant stronger. You may have to experiment with the duration the system is running, but this system is much better than most. The idea of prepositioned emitters is not ideal, but out performs overhead spray systems by a long shot. If you dig down where those wet circles are, you should see the depth the water has penetrated, again much better for plant health, and as a side benefit, you should see far fewer weeds because you are only watering the plant, not the entire ground area. If the emitters on your system are interchangeable, as to gallons per hour, that might be something to look into as well. Trees will need far more water than small shrubs, so .5gph to 1gph emitters on shrubs, and 2gph emitters on trees would be a good idea.

    Good Luck, Mike
     
  6. Powers

    Powers Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the replies everyone, and sorry about the sidways picture. I ran it for 2 hrs 10 minutes this morning, and took these two new pictures.

    So I'm a little confused about possibilities here - should I just be running the system longer? Is the water actually reaching further out beneath the ground where I can't see? Are the lines laid in a poor design? Just trying to figure out if this is something I should insist the contractor fix, or if it's a problem on my end...

    On a related note, we plan to bury the lines and cover with new mulch - maybe this will help their ability to spread through the soil?
     

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  7. richinva

    richinva Tele-Meister

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    Also make sure that you have some type of backflow preventer between the irrigation system and your potable water supply.
     
  8. Powers

    Powers Tele-Meister

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    There is definitely a backflow preventer, it is required and has been inspected by the city.
     
  9. mefgames

    mefgames Friend of Leo's Double Platinum Supporter

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    How many days a week are you running that drip line 2 hrs and 10 minutes ? If it's every other day, that might be okay, but it still seems long to me. I run our drip around 45 minutes daily. As I said in an earlier post, If you dig down where those wet circles are, you should see the depth the water has penetrated. If you don't want to dig up the wet spots, another way to check is to lift the drip line and put a container under a single emitter, then check it after a watering cycle.
     
  10. PeteMac

    PeteMac Friend of Leo's

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    G'day. Former irrigation contractor here.

    The drip line is intended to get the water down into the soil. Very little of what has gone in should be visible on the surface. Mefgames has it right.

    30 to 40 minutes a couple of times a week should do the job. (Dependent on weather conditions and type of plants, of course.)

    When the drought hit here a few years back, using garden sprinklers became illegal. If you wanted to water your garden you had to convert your sprays to a drip system. (Ahh, good times :D )
     
  11. Powers

    Powers Tele-Meister

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    So you are saying that the water should be spreading much futher than the surface wet spots show?

    I have checked by hand in a few spots and the soil is somewhat wet, but not very consistent, and I really don't know exactly how wet it should be after a morning water and 8+ hours of 100 degree heat.
     
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