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How to install drip irrigation systems

September 15, 2021 -  By
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Drip irrigation systems use significantly less water than spray systems, targeting water directly to plant roots to allow deep soil penetration, promoting healthy roots. However, planning such a system requires a thorough understanding of water pressures, plant hydration needs and system components, says Michael Derewenko, marketing manager for Jain Irrigation, Fresno, Calif.

Consulting with an irrigation designer who can translate the landscape designer’s plans into different hydrozones for different plants — one zone with one water flow rate for trees, a different one for bushes, a third for turf — is critical.

However, while each system is different, a few basic steps remain the same.

Step 1:

Photo: Jain irrigation

Photo: Jain Irrigation

Establish a point of connection with the water supply — not a spigot, a hard connection to the home water supply or backflow preventer. Install the system’s manifolds and place the automated controller nearby. The manifolds’ valves will direct specific water flows to each hydrozone.

 

Step 2:

Photo: Drip Drop Irrigation

Photo: Drip Drop Irrigation

Dig trenches for main lines to carry water throughout the area and the lateral supply lines off the main lines to direct water to specific areas of the landscape. Bury the lines deep enough to protect from freezing, depending on the climate and the region, deeper for colder regions. 

 

Step 3:

Photo: Jain Irrigation

Photo: Jain Irrigation

Install main and lateral lines. Install stub-ups on the lateral lines to bring water to the surface.

 

Step 4:

Photo: Jain Irrigation

Photo: Jain Irrigation

Connect stub-ups to drip-irrigation fixtures such as bubblers for plants or subsurface drip lines for turf. Install filters and water-pressure regulators on the backside of valves to prevent debris from entering water lines and to prevent damage to irrigation units from water overpressure.

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