Sprinklers vs. Total Drip Irrigation for Turf

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by marssh1, Mar 9, 2005.

  1. marssh1

    marssh1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    I live in Denver and am replacing old sprinklers/sod for a 100ft. by 100ft. area. My landscaper has brought up the idea of installing a latticed drip system under the turf instead of the usual sprinkler heads. He says the advantages are:
    1. More water efficiency, especially in the high desert where we live.
    2. Can water anytime

    Disadvantages include:
    1. At least 30% higher installation cost
    2. A little more complicated to repair problems, but this should be offset by fewer repairs as sprinkler heads are always failing.

    He's not pushing is at all, but I'm pretty intrigued by it. His general impression is that these systems will do well in the long run, but the longest installation he currently has is 5 years, so he's not willing to say he's a huge fan yet.

    The questions for this esteemed group of professionals:

    1. Would you add any other advantages/disadvantages?
    2. What is the long-term reliability of these systems?
    3. Do any professionals plan to have their own yards done this way?
    4. Am I crazy for even considering this? I know I have a couple of moles around my house.
    5. What brand should I consider?

    Thanks for any contributions!
  2. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956


    Our Sandy Florida soil cause these system to fail. Beautiful Green grass on the drip line with shades of brown in between. I believe your type of soil is important to their success. Ask question about other installations in your area. Go look at those installations when the dry season requires their usage. Terms Like Field Capacity and Hydraulic Conductivity are used to give quantitative values to your soils water handleing abilities.

    CUTNTIME LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    I've been in the irrigation buisiness since "95" and have installed miles of drip line on commercial& industrial applications.I would recomend a two part system.Drip irrigation (at least in n.fl.)is more suited for landscape beds
    around bushes,flowers,etc.,with turf heads and sprays to cover your turf areas.You need to make sure you have a pressure regulator after the valve followed by a clearview
    filter before your dripline tie-in.This will help keep the dripline
    clear as well as preventing blowouts from to much pressure.
    Check with your local irrigation supply house and get they're take on applications for your area.
  4. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956


    I agree with the shrubs and filter, but found pressure regulator solenoid to work fine. I always kept drip on a separate line from any other irrigation.

    Now in his part or the world the soil may have a lot more clay and Drip line might be the way to go on turf. Shrub roots spread further and the bed are much narrower so the field capacity of the soil is not as important as with turf.
  5. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,654

    To explain part of this further is that water in sandy or rocky soil tends to go down vertically and not so much horizontally. I'd be a bit worried about even distribution. The more professional irrigation companies produce sprinkler heads that are fairly good at distributing an even precipitation rate throughout their operating radius. I have a hard time seeing as good of a distribution rate through your lawn with a drip system, and this makes me think that you possibly could have lines in the lawn that were a bit more green than other areas. I like the idea, though a bit reserved on its effectiveness for turf irrigation.

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