Drip Irrigation by the book

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Wet_Boots, May 11, 2007.

  1. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,708

    I brought back a Xerigation manual from Rainbird, when I was visiting California, back in the 20th Century. It's very detailed, as might be needed by agricultural usages.

    What I'm wondering, does anyone actually install any of this 'textbook' drip irrigation? I mean the type with discrete emitters, color-coded for gallonage, with quarter-inch tubing connected to the emitters' outlets, with the end supported above ground, complete with 'bug cap'

    The above-ground termination would be essential for an ag install, I would think, because someone would be visually confirming that the system was working 100 percent. Cash crops, and all that.

    The one thing that the manual recommends, which I rarely see, is the application of a full six inches of mulch covering, so that the emitters don't get crunched by foot traffic. That runs into money.

    An alternative to the color-coded emitters, would be the multi-emitter devices, which would allow common pipe (PVC, I'd expect, for critter resistance) to be used for the drip main, and multiple outlets could be dedicated to a single plant, if it needed more water than its neighbors. The main could also be buried, and the mulch requirement avoided.

    Rainbird had a display rack for all this varied drip stuff, and I only saw one distributor in these parts with one, and it didn't last long.

    So, anyone here do their drip by the (ag standards) book?
  2. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    Fruit Growers, Inc. in Woodlake would prolly do the book good (except for the mulch). They design and install HUGE (as in hundreds of acres at a time) ag related drip systems that require PSI/GPM/GPH consideration.

    At work... drip is a no-no.

    At home... works great. My mulch used to be spent pecan shells from a local nutter. Now they only sell to biomass cogeneration outfits.
  3. Remote Pigtails

    Remote Pigtails LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    No not me. I wing it.
  4. Remote Pigtails

    Remote Pigtails LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    I use what I like to call the CHINATOWN approach. You remember the line "If I can't bring the water to L.A. I'll bring L.A. to the water". I use drip to create wet spots and then plant in the wet spots.
  5. Mad Estonian

    Mad Estonian LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 280

    The manual I had to study for the "Landscape Drip Design" certification up here was basically 14 chapters of ag (it's put out by our Ministry of Agriculture) and 1 of landscape, but I had to absorb the whole thing as much as possible, lots of the ag stuff still applies and is good to know. I mainly use at least 2 1 GPH "flag" type emitters on each plant (2 in case of blockage, though I really haven't found that to be a problem on properly filtered systems, definitely not as much as with micro-spray), on split-top 6" stakes, attached to 1/4" line running from 1/2" poly. I like to leave the emitters at least above ground to keep an eye on them, the customers tend to pull them up to check anyways I find. Mulch is critical, but not 6". The system's worst enemy is a gardener with a hoe, so the more visible the better, if the customer doesn't mind. But I like a bit of mulch on the lines to mostly hide them, but not so that no one else has a clue where they are. Mulch keeps the weeds down anyways, so not so much hoe-work needed. And spreading mulch helps keep me busy in the winter.
    The technique I find is pretty simple, it's the science of determining the individual plant's water needs that gets more complicated, and I'm pretty into that. I tend to use the Gallons per Plant per Day method, but there's the Landscape Coefficient Method you can use for a dense mixed area as well. A great resource for rating plant water needs is at http://www.owue.water.ca.gov/docs/wucols00.pdf, which I'm sure many of you are familiar with.
  6. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Nope, they write those manuals with the goal of getting you to buy as much as possible. I think they are ridiculous.
  7. hoskm01

    hoskm01 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,690

    Bug caps certainly seem to be a thing of the past. Other than that, Red, Black and Green are well known color codes and we install the emitter underground on the 1/2" poly line then 1/8" micro (spaghetti) to the plant. This saves the emitter and prevents "flooding" in the event a household pet decides to chew the end off, which happens in just about every yard here. We do attempt to have a nub sticking up out of the ground for visual verification, and 2" of rock is our typical mulch.
  8. CAPT Stream Rotar

    CAPT Stream Rotar LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,911


  9. Remote Pigtails

    Remote Pigtails LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    Be more open minded. The people writing the manuals are usually not sales people but engineers with a passion for their expertise.
  10. Remote Pigtails

    Remote Pigtails LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    ME I'll be out of pocket for a couple of days. (Daughter graduating from college, YEAH) I'd like to know the name brands you prefer in drip. I've mainly focused on what's available here which is netafim, RB, and DIG. When I get back I'm going to post my press reg theories and techniques for DW's opinion.

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