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Low-tech, Low budget pipe plowing

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by jeffinsgf, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 641

    Okay, this is a thread a lot of you won't be thrilled with, but maybe some history and some work-around can come from it.

    I just added an area to a zone. I didn't want to go through the hassle of renting a trencher for the little bit that I was doing, so I dug it with my tractor mounted backhoe. Now I am paying for that mistake with big trenches that aren't settling as quickly or completely as I would like.

    I am going to start working on the backyard soon, and thought I might try plowing in the pipe instead of trenching. I might be able to rent a plow, but I haven't seen them at any of the rental yards around -- even the commercial ones.

    On a tractor users forum I read, several guys have plowed pipe in with a sub-soiler, which is basically one big tooth on a three point hitch mount.

    One set-up chained the pipe to the sub-soiler and pulled the pipe through the ground. I think this is the way most dedicated plows work, right?

    Another had a big sweeping 2 inch conduit elbow pointed back from the ripper, and the pipe went down the conduit and laid into the trench.

    Have any of you seasoned guys used a set up like this before the days of dedicated plows?

    Is there an advantage to one approach over the other? I've got really rocky ground with a very heavy clay content. It seems like the laying in as you go would be kinder to the pipe than pulling it through the ground.

    I am planning on doing the back with poly laterals, rather than pulling PVC, unless someone here tries to change my mind.

    I have a 22 HP diesel garden tractor (JD 455) and a 35 HP utility tractor (JD 4410). If the GT will get it done, it is a lot more maneuverable. But the 4410 has some serious power, if that is what it takes.
  2. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,267

    Dedicated plows have been around for decades. In the Northeast, you buy a plow, if you want to do irrigation. Rentals can be few and far between. Of course, you could hire a guy with a plow.
  3. WalkGood

    WalkGood LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,910

    In a ground condition (rocks, tree roots) that keeps knocking the poly pipe off the puller we make a first or 2nd pass WITHOUT the poly pipe attached. Breaks up the path, then we pull with the poly attached.

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 5,134

    get some pics i want to see this mess

    just rent a trencher and be done with it
  5. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 641

    Thanks. I had caught that piece of wisdom on the tractor forum, too. Any problems with rocks abrading the pipe being pulled? What does a pipe pulling machine have that a tractor with a sub-soiler doesn't have?
  6. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,267

    Sub-soilers don't have a 'bullet' that clears a pathway for the pipe.
  7. WalkGood

    WalkGood LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,910

    It is always possible that sharp rocks, junk like glass or metal shards can abrade, weaken or puncture poly pipe being pulled. I've seen PVC laid under a driveway crack because some rocks were backfilled onto the PVC and time/pressure did it's thing.
  8. gusbuster

    gusbuster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,926

    Well if the contractor is too cheap to at least use sch 40, then for sure that class 200 pipe is going to break.

    My pet peve I have with some of the repairs that I do is the fact that the installers were too cheap to use 30 ft of sched 40 or at least do a proper sleeve under the driveway.

    2 weeks ago, in a sub-division in the city of Oakdale, what started out as a helping hand to a friend ended up be profitable Saturday. The driveways settled after new construction and cracked the pipes. Of course, in the middle of a stamped drive way. Neighbors saw how I was running new pipe and would come over and ask me How Much? So surprised that local contractors are too lazy to try the high water pressure way.
  9. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,103

    I will finally rest easy when contractors call us early on & consult concerning
    sleeve locations.
  10. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    We'll both be dead and LONG gone before that happens. Better to be jittery about it and make the extra money. :)

    "Gee, the contractor didn't notify us early enough about sleeving. Now we'll have to bore and set the sleeve so that will cost you extra $." :nono:

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