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JaneofSJ 11-24-2012 11:46 PM

Drip Irrigation Suggestions
Hi all,

My mom is getting old and would not like to manually water her fruit trees. I would like to setup an automatic watering system for her but I have one tricky problem. Her backyard is all concrete except the 3' x 3' around her fruit trees. She doesn't mind having the hoses run on top of the concrete because she does not want to have to cut the concrete. Please give some suggestions for weather resistant pipe/hose. I could just use the black plastic pipe or the pvc pipe but how can I secure it to the concrete so that 1). it won't come up and 2). it won't stick up too much that she may trip over it. She is no spring chicken. Thank you for all your suggestions.

user1007 11-25-2012 12:03 AM

If you lay the black 1/2" tubing in the sun for a time it will loose its memory. I don't know of way to secure it to the concrete that would not be treacherous when it came lose other than drilling holes with a masonry bit and fitting some clamps. I think if you ran the tubing as far out of the way as possible and anchored it with yard staples inside the 3x3 planter areas you would be alright? You can run micro tubing with emitters off the 1/2" if you think it would pose less of a trip hazard.

My Mom was legally blind and I put most of her yard and the many patio container plantings on drip. As far as I know, she never tripped over the tubing.

I have drip systems I designed 25-30 years ago that have been laying on the surface so I would not worry too much about the tubing degrading. Buy online or from a reputable irrigation supplier though---not a box store---and look for UV resistant tubing. PVC will likely break down in the sun faster than the drip tubing, by the way.

Think about adding a fertilizer syphon to the system for your Mom too. That way she can just stick a jug of liquid plant food and feed the trees.

JaneofSJ 11-25-2012 11:31 AM

Drip Irrigation
Thank you sdsester. Do you have an online irrigation supplier you can recommend? I like the idea of installing the fertilizer syphon.

user1007 11-25-2012 11:52 AM

Clients have bought from The Drip Store online. I am sure there are others but I have been out of the game directly for quite some time. Your best bet is really to work something out with a local landscape irrigations supplier rather than worry about coils of tubing being shipped to you. You may find the best selection of emitters online although if all you have to do is water trees the most simple, self-cleaning, drip emitters in the 1-4 gallon per hour range will do just fine.

Are you able to make the plumbing connections to the water supply with the fertilizer injector and necessary anti-syphon and backflow prevention? Make sure you provide an easily servicable filter and flush valve at the end of the tubing run for the system too. And of course you might as well put the system on a timer for your Mom.

Note that not all existing automatic irrigation valves work with drip because of the low flow rates. And of course some irrigation timers do not allow you to set long watering periods. You may have to upgrade if you have these situations. The good news is you don't need so many valves or timer stations with drip. Drip systems are relatively inexpensive.

JaneofSJ 11-25-2012 12:55 PM

I plan to set up a very simple system for her. I plan to connect the timer & tubing via the hose bibb and so no plumbing adjustment is needed. I don't plan to use emitters since because of the low water flow. I plan to use the tubing itself as the watering source (just like you would would put a garden hose to the base of the trees). I have bad experience with the emitters in the past and would like to steer away from it. I plan to check the water pressure at the hose bibb just in case it is too much for the tubing. Do you think it is ok to just use the tubing to water? This would also save on extra tubing & emitters.

user1007 11-25-2012 01:26 PM

I would use quality emitters. Again, I installed some 30 years ago that still function perfectly so perhaps you got some inferior box store type or something? You cannot control holes in the tubing. There is also something to be said for self-cleaning emitters. You cannot achieve self-cleaning holes in the pipe.

If you are going hose end, you should be able to buy everything including a combo pressure reduction valve, fertilizer syphon etc. for $60 or so? A hose end timer another $30? Do make sure to put a flush valve at the far end of the system. They are simplistic and just close when the line has pressure and open when not. Obviously, with drip, you do not need much pressure.

JaneofSJ 11-25-2012 01:44 PM

Actually what I was thinking is instead of capping the ends of the tubing, I would leave it open for each trees and then cap it at the very end of the run. What is the purpose of the flush valve? I looked at the drip store description, but still can't understand. Would you please give me the abc version of the function of the flush valve? It is a straight horizontal run from the hose bibb to the trees, no ups and downs. Do I need the flush valve?

user1007 11-25-2012 01:56 PM

In spite of best efforts, water in the tubing can carry particulates or even grow algae that can clog the emitters. Self-cleaning emitters will help. If the system is closed there is no way for the crud to get out. A flush valve provides water and one hopes must of the stuff trapped to get out.

The other option is to just get an end clamp that holds the tubing folded over itself. When you want to flush the system, you just slip off the clamp and flush manually. I just think the spring loaded things, for a buck or two, are a bit more elegant.

You might update your profile with basic geographic information. If you live in a climate that freezes over the winter, you definitely want to flush as much water out of the system as you can.

JaneofSJ 11-25-2012 02:31 PM

I live in California and frost/freeze won't be much of a problem. Thank you very much for all your suggestions.

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