A Drip Irrigation Primer
Have you visited Shooting Star's two new display gardens on the nursery's east side? Tanya Andreatta of Andreatta Waterscapes and her crew constructed the gardens' intricate rock walls. Then our designers set to work selecting and siting plants from cactus to daphne that can be self-sustaining in our valley summers. The Rock Garden and Fragrance/Pollinator Garden showcase plant choices that thrive in a full-sun exposure. Drip irrigation provides an affordable, low-water option for irrigating these newly installed plants as they grow.
Luke Acosta and his Rolling Hills Landscape team designed the drip system for our display gardens. Luke offers these tips to keep drip systems flowing evenly so that they deliver the right amount of water to each plant:
Lower the Pressure: Drip systems are designed to run at about 30-40 psi, Luke points out, which is lower than house plumbing or sprinkler lines. Over pressuring your drip line can lead to problems with inconsistent flow or even possible blow outs.
Dedicate lines to drip only. Mixing drip lines with sprayers or lawn spinklers can cause over or under-watering.
Point emitters in the right direction. You'll find diagrams and directions on the package but generally the the correct emitter position is with the manufacturer's logo facing in to the line. Also match the emitter volume (gph, or gallons per hour) with the plant's need.
Both of these steps -- dedicated lines and correctly placed emitters -- ensure plants will not be overwatered or dry out.
Avoid daisy-chaining: When you lay out a drip system, set up your system with long lines. Allow plenty of space in between rather than frequent branching or constructing of short lines.
Maintain drip emitters. Start off the spring by checking and cleaning irrigation system components. Calcium can easily build up over the season and lead to clogging.
Know when to call for help. Seek advice from Oregon Landscape Contractors Board-certified specialists. Rolling Hills is one.