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Vibr. Plowing techniques

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by dmc456, Oct 17, 2005.

  1. dmc456

    dmc456 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 383

    What technique to do you to plow in your irrigation lines. Just starting my first (my house) and trying to get a plan together.

    Thought was to design, layout head placement with marking flags (visual reference), dig out heads, valve, "Ts", joints", etc... with a post hole digger.

    Then I would plow from hole to hole, make connections, etc.... done.

    What techniques do you use with the virbrating plow. Looking for thing to watch out for as well as time savings tricks.

    What about pulling wires, 2-3 pipes at once, cross-overs, etc....?
  2. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 663

    I flag head location, make some faint paint dashes connecting heads on the same zone (just to eliminate any confusion). Underground utilities should be located before starting. I remove sod over marked utilities and dig hole down to pipe depth so I don't plow through wires or gas. Murphy's Law says you will hit a wire with the plow if you don't expose them first. I pull main line first, keeping it as close as possible to house or foundation plantings. Pull zone lines second.
    Pulling multiple pipes will depend on soil conditions. For hard dry soil probably only 1 pipe. For 2 pipes I stick one in the Chinese finger and one through the loop where finger attaches to chain - kink it and tape it. Wire is taped to pipe in the finger.
    Usually only holes I dig before plowing are to locate utilities. Vib. plow will loosen soil and make it easier to dig holes for heads.
  3. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    Flag out heads for each zone (different color flag for each zone helps). Mark each flag with a painted X, just incase you move a flag with the plow blade.

    I pull PVC, not poly, so I dig out a start hole and a end hole at the end of each pull. I usually pull entire lateral lines at once, not head to head.

    You have to think differently when your plowing vrs trenching. Plowing into corners is bad, and if its possible, plowing curves works a lot better than lots of short plows with 90 degree fittings.

    Plow directly through your X mark, and then dig it out and install a swing joint. You can't install a swing joint using a post hole digger sized hole.

    With our 410, you can pull up to 3 1" pipes at once in just about any soil. I just stick them each in their own chinese finger puller and use carabeaners to attach them to the plowblade chain.

    As far as wire, I usually pull 1/2" SDR in with my mainline, and use fishtape to pull the wire through that. I haven't had good luck with pulling the mainline with the wire taped to it.

    Crossing over requires the pipe/wire your crossing to be exposed. Then just bump your blade up as you cross. Often I chose to cross under, to do that, I pull up until I'm about to hit the pipe I'm crossing with the blade, then unhook the pipe from the blade, move the blade across the pipe, and reconnect (sometimes using an extra carabeaner to lengthen the chain).

    What model of plow are you using, and PVC or poly?
  4. turfman59

    turfman59 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 801

    Cant imagine a post hole digger for digging holes for fittings? My theory is dig a $10.00 hole for a $ 2.00 fitting. It makes installing a lot easier. The more time you spend on increasing the size of the hole with a shovel will be paid back on the dividend of ease of installation while you are on your hands and knees,This is my expierence when cable plowing poly.
  5. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    Is that Can. or US $ ? :D
  6. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    All of my head holes are about 1' in length by 6" wide. This allows proper swing joint installation.
  7. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    As meticulous as you seem I'd bet you measure and paint each hole location so they are exact. :D
  8. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    Actually, for the first couple days for a new guy, I do. Otherwise they either dig them too big or too small.
  9. spray-head-dave

    spray-head-dave LawnSite Member
    Posts: 31

    jon holland how big of a starter hole do you dig for PVC pipe? How much can it bend to get into the hole? Does someone hold the pipe vertical to take some of the pressure off the pipe?
  10. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    About 12" in length, down to about 12" in depth.

    As soon as the chinese finger puller is in the ground, we push a shovel down ontop of it and that helps it maintain its depth while its being pulled in.

    We dig the same hole at the end of the run, after unhooking the carabeaner it usually takes a few whacks with a rubber mallet to get the pipe puller off.

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