Nursery Irrigation Field, Containers, etc.

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by brentm, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. brentm

    brentm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I am starting a nursery in Salem, Oregon and I would like to create an irrigation master plan to ensure that the pump, pipe, etc. that I install off the bat are sufficient for when my business expands. I have a feeling that because I have so many questions, I'll have to hire someone to make a master plan, please let me know if you are experienced and would like to take on this job or if my requests/questions are reasonable, please give me feedback on my ideas/questions below.
    The nursery is 20 acres total and these are some of my initial thoughts which I'd like to get feedback on:

    a. 15 acres of dwarf conifers and Japanese maples planted 5'x5'. I was thinking of using drip tape, maybe Netafim 1GPH or 2GPH Triton Heavywall Dripperline with 60" spacing, roughly 320' runs on flat terrain. I want each tree to be able to get equivalent to .3" of water daily so 1.5" every 5th day. If their root balls are 3' in Diameter, thats equivalent to 1.32gallons daily, which is 1hr @30PSI for the 1GPH heavywall triton drip.

    b. 5 acres of container production which includes twelve 36'wide by 300' long areas - all irrigated daily with .5"

    1 or 2 of the areas (36'x300') with #1 cont. I was thinking the only/best way to irrigate these would be with overhead irrigation. I experimented with various sprinkler head layouts with triangular and square spacing using 12' or 18' diameter heads. The problem is that I haven't been able to select a product on the market that will irrigate that long and narrow area the way I'd like: I would like to irrigate daily with .5" applied in less than an hour if possible. The MaxiJet Max 14 Fill-Ins 360* x 14 Filled-In Streams in White (.07" orifice size) have a 37.1GPH with 22.5' Diameter, but each head would give me .137"/hr and the avg overlap in my designs is 2.5x so that's .34"/hr. Please see the attached image which shows various layouts I was considering...I am very inexperienced with design, so I would appreciate your criticism and assistance with product selection.

    1 or 2 of the areas (36'x300') with #2 and #3 cont. I was thinking of doing these areas with either overhead irrigation or possibly heavywall drip tape laying on top of the pots which would be equally spaced. This size container would need equiv to .5" per day on drip.

    6 to 10 areas with #5 up to #25 containers. The large conts (#5-25) will definitely be on drip, I was thinking Netafim spray stakes they would need .5" per day on drip.

    I have attached a base map with the narrow container areas, road ways and field areas marked's a work in progress.

    The water is coming from an 8" well 225' deep with an existing 3HP submersible. I am going to upgrade to a 7.5 or 10 HP 6" submersible mounted 125' deep. I like some of the models made by Goulds. Their 7.5HP submersible would supply me with 150gpm@50PSI. If my irrigation plan shows that I need more water than that, I can always get a 10hp model. I also need to specify pipe and pipe layout, a filter, a controller, etc. It seems endless!!!!!

    Thank you so much for your expertise!


    Map with preliminary layout.jpg

    sprinkler layouts.jpg

    Messages: 18,668

    People get paid for this kind of info. I think you are going beyond the advice/niceties of this forum. Find an irrigation consultant and hire him to do the job.
  3. Waterit

    Waterit LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,931

    Ditto that. If you get something for nothing in this industry, you get what you paid for.
  4. brentm

    brentm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Yes, sir, I realize that, so at the beginning of the post I said:

    Maybe I should greatly limit my question to the portion I am having the most difficulty with:

    I want to get .5" down on an area 36'wide by 300' long in about an hour. Do you have any sprinkler design layout that could achieve this with a great degree of uniformity and minimizes spray into outside areas (ie 180* at edges, 90*in corners).

    thank you.

  5. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    0.6 GPH Techline with 12" dripper spacing and laterals spaced at ~ 19" will give you about 0.5" of water in 1 hour.
  6. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,752

    One might wonder why the planning does not allow for the simple use of impact heads.
  7. brentm

    brentm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Okay, good call, Wet_Boots. So I went back to the drawing board...I initially was pretty narrow minded with this and only looked at microsprayers. Now I took a look at impact heads with Partial Circle operation. (Note, this is for small containerized plant material, so I can't use drip tape.) The area is 36' wide, 250' long, so I picked a RainBird 1/2" Full or part circle Brass impact sprinkler - 9/64" nozzle, 3.8GPM @ 45PSI, 39' radius. Area would require 15 heads x 3.8GPM = 57 GPM total in 9000sq ft, so that's .61"/hr, but I'd be loosing about 10% due to overspray.

    I laid it out in a triangular pattern with 13 sprinklers with a 180* and 2 at the ends with 90*spray patterns. I chose a 39' radius even though the area is 36' wide because I want to make sure that even with a little wind the edges get saturated...Is that the right way to design it? The heads would be mounted at 2-3' off the ground with plant height less than 3'. Please see the top diagram below.

    (The bottom diagram is with 36' radius but that would make a portion of the edges which need the most water, the least wet.)

    I'd appreciate your feedback.


    Sprinkler layout- new-1.jpg
  8. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,752

    I was asking why, with 20 acres to work with, cannot the layout of a nursery allow for water to be broadcast from tall impact heads.

    It really works two ways. I see point-of-sale nurseries, where the water is broadcast to keep the B&B stock healthy.

    For an area where the plants are in-ground, the irrigation becomes an ag question, and most of the answers point to drip.
  9. brentm

    brentm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Water supply in Oregon is limited. The domestic allowance for using groundwater from a well is 15,000 gallons per day if you do not have water rights. The water rights process is long and not guaranteed, so I figured that I would try to design my system to optimize water use efficiency and if possible, use less than 15,000 gallons....which turns out won't really be possible in the driest, hottest times of year, but as an average through the season, it will be possible.

    As an example, you can fit 1210 trees on 1 acre spaced at 5'x5'. Using drip, I will moisten a diameter of 3' below each tree, which is 7.068sq ft. 1210x7.068 = 8553 sq ft irrigated. 8553/43560(sq ft/acre) = .196. Therefore with drip, I am effectively watering 19.6% of the area that I would otherwise need to water with overhead. So if my calculations are correct, 1 acre with overhead would use the same amount of water as 5 acres of drip. with 15acres in ground at a max ET of .3" per day:
    8553 (sq ft irrigated per acre) * 15 acres = 128295 total sq ft irrigated
    .3" = .025 ft
    128295total sq ft * .025 ft = 3207.4 cu ft water required per day
    3207.4cu ft = ~24,000 gallons per day for 15 acres of field stock

    ~3420 gallons/day for one container area 36'x250' with overhead impact sprinklers providing about .5"/day with design specified above...might have 2 or three of these areas, so ~10,000 gallons per day

    I will also have about 10 areas 250'x36' which is 2-acres total of large containers on drip, those will likely take ~800 gallons, so another 8,000 gallons.

    In the peak of the season I'd therefore use 30,000 to 40,000 gallons.
  10. lowvolumejeff

    lowvolumejeff LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    I use these in containers. A little fussy to set up, but since they seldom clog, are easy to turn on and off individually, come in a variety of flow rates and pattens, attach to flexible PE tube by 1/8 inch tubing without the need of barbs, and conserve water - might be a good alternative. Several manufaqctures make them. I use Roberts. Couldn't find on their website, but I have also boought themat Horizion. Costs about $23/100.

    One type is at

    Sorry, couldn't find a link to them at other websites. This will give you an idea.

    Good luck. Sounds like an exciting project. Jeff

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