View Full Version : Finding drip lines
05-05-2002, 03:24 PM
Our company took over the maintenance on a commercial property that has drip irrigation in the ornamental beds. It was installed in 1996 and everything did well for about 2 years. After 2 1/2 years the landscape started having problems. Seems as though material started dying. Looks as though it was the 'Skip' Laurels and Azaleas that did poorly. An occasional spruce here and there also died. Now I am to propose a rehab of the landscape but I'm concerned that the irrigation may not be working properly everywhere. First how do we find the lines? I don't want to chop them up and also, they may need location adjustments. I know that our irrigation dept. can run through the zones and determine if each one is working. Second, is there a commonsense way of determining if enough water is getting to the plantings? I'm just trying to gain some understanding of the issues before diving in. Remember, I landscape -- I don't install irrigation--but we have a department that does.
05-05-2002, 07:12 PM
A 6 yr old drip system that is having problems isn't usually worth repairing. recommend replacing it.
05-05-2002, 07:48 PM
I don't know for certain that the system is having problems. Only know that the plantings are dying.
05-06-2002, 07:23 AM
IF, the drip is a problem replace it with a known design where you can actually know how much water it can deliver. Then you can calculate how long it needs to run to meet the evapo-transpiration needs of the plants. You may want to do this no matter what, if you can't find other reasons for the plant mortality. It would probably be cheap insurance unless the rehab is very small compared to the scope of the entire planting project covered by the drip.
I find that many system owners or managers don't know and don't believe how long irrigation needs to run to supply the needed water in peak use months. Your drip could be a good system but was poorly managed.
If you can't determine cause of death I would try to find out how the system was operated and snooop around each plant under the mulch to see if you can find any tubing or emitters. Could have been good timing but to low a volume or poor spacing on emitters.
Basically, you have to do a "little digging" on this one. Keep us posted.
05-06-2002, 08:32 AM
IF you were an irrigation pro you would already have within you the uncanny ability to not only see through the dirt at the problem but ALSO to foresee any future problems with the system....c'mon man, but the xray vision glasses that all our customers think we have........seriously, HB is right in my humble opinion, sometimes the only way to find these things out is to dig. It isn't brain surgery sometimes, I have to convine my guys of this once in awhile. Dig, Dig, Dig, and you will have the answer.
BTW....did you know that a REAL irrigation pro not only has the 2 major talents that I listed above, but one more wonderful gift: He can tell how much a job will cost just by having the customer call and say: Oh I don't know, a couple of bad heads and a leak or two...................aint it great!
05-06-2002, 10:53 PM
Do the shovel\probe test.
If easy to dig around that dying plant or probe it, means it's getting water.
I would try this as a first step before committing to digging. Leave the system on for a while before doing the dig step.
Otherwise, as stated above is your only solution.
Oh another thought could be that the plants didn't like the position of the emitters. Some plants (azaleas) for instance don't like to have the crown of plants constantly wet.
05-07-2002, 10:23 PM
Most of the plants that didn't make it are long gone. Thanks for the replies. It helps to reassure me that I'm on the right track. So my mind-reading skills won't help for this one I guess.
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