drip irrigation...tips and tricks?

   #1  

texasjohn

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I've heard and read up about drip irrigation. Have acquired a bunch of the usual stuff...filters, pressure reducers, lines of the usual sizes, fittings, shutoffs, emitters of various rates and adjustable, etc.
I figure I can hook up and learn from my mistakes....or ask y'all for your best tips and tricks so I can follow them and be all set to make new mistakes so I can share them back here with you:D

Water source is deep well water, hard water...dunno how bad scale will be over time, but anticipate some clogged emitters that need cleaning.

Application will be for ground garden, some raised beds and pots. Also will use to water trees for shade and nuts...some just planted, others already growing.

Pressure around house is provided by well...about 60 lbs. I have numerous totes and water tanks, 300 to 1000 gallons, I plan to take into pasture, raise 5 ft off the ground, placed up slope, and try gravity flow to trees in pasture. I will fence off this area from cattle. These tanks will be filled as needed by pulling a nurse tank to them to fill.

Hopefully, tank size and drip approach will keep fill intervals to a minimum.

What rate emitter is going to work for gravity flow...I know NOT to use a pressure compensating emitter. I read on the net to use .5 GPH emitter...sound right?
Tips, tricks, advice appreciated...note I am in Central Texas...in extreme drought conditions now, have clay soil. Summers are always hot and dry.
 
   #2  

Ted Summey

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Your plans sound like they are well thought. For garden I use drip tape with built-in emitters every foot. It is a time saver and works very well in my 100' rows. It runs off the well and presents no problems with our hard water. I don't think the calcium and lime in our water will stick to the plastic but I could be wrong. The pressure regulator for this system is 12 psi and i have a filter coupled at the inlet to the header pipe. I don't use any round pipe with the press in type emitters that you place where you want - so my experience is limited there.

For gravity feed you may not need the regulator but someone who knows more about it will need to confirm. I have 15 or so lines that run off a single header pipe. Each line has its own valve. The system will support all the lines at one time but it tends to be too slow so I run 4 or 5 lines at a time. So dependent on evaporation rates you may have to do some similar "zoning" to make sure enough water gets to a group of plants.

I've used my system two years now. The pipe handles better if it is placed in the sun to warm up then stretched out. I find the tape is easier to place while it is full of water.
 
   #3  

daveshoot

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A good rule of thumb is never to use less than 1 gph emitters. The .5 are very prone to clogging.

You said the tanks are up slope and elevated, so you can either calculate or measure the psi in the lines. 25 and 40 psi regulators are commonly available and cheap if needed, and they save emitters popping out over time. You would certainly want them if you ran off the 60 psi well.
 
   #5  

flusher

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I use drip irrigation for my grapes, berries and landscape shrubs (about 70 shrubs). 1/2" main line. 1/4" side lines. 20 psi pressure regulators. Anti-siphon/anti-backflow device at the well. Source is 154 ft well, water is pretty hard. I have to keep an eye on the emitters for clogging. I use 1/2 and 1 gal/hr emitters. I'll be checking the emitters on the grapes and berries this am (supposed to hit 110 F this Friday so I want to be sure the vines are getting water). Get yourself a $10 tool caddy from Home Depot and load it with replacement parts and hand tools to service the driplines.

Good luck
 
   #6  

hunterridgefarm

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Texasjohn,

Thanks for starting this thread.

I am in a similar situation. I have a 1200 gal storage tank I use to water plants in the small greenhouse we have. I am going to hook a gravity flow to it for grapes, blackberries, blueberries, and fruit trees and some raised beds. I was planning on trenching a power source to the greenhouse once my garden shed was complete and installing a small electric pump for the greenhouse and fruit trees. However now we are thinking about getting a larger greenhouse. So until we decide on size I am back to gravity flow. I don't want to trench a power source to the shed and greenhouse if we are going to get a bigger one.

So I am very interested in your set up and the reply's to this thread.

The garden will be irrigated with drip tape next year ,hopefully, with a gas water pump. Currently using sprinklers which is very inefficient for watering.
 
  
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texasjohn

texasjohn

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Flusher,
I got my drip line from a local guy who sold his vineyard and had supplies left over. Two rolls of half inch line, 500 ft each, emitters every 24", 2 gallons per day each he said, $50 per roll, new. Also a soil moisture meter made in CA. ...long tube with probe on bottom and meter on top saying DRY/WET on a 100 point scale.

Yesterday I rolled out 500 ft and hooked to house hose....with filter, regulator, etc...water all leaked out before reaching end ...which is open so I could flush the line...Guess I need to find way to increase flow/pressure to that line. I was surprised it leaked out without reaching the end.

hunter ridge, I found this site to be informative since I know nothing about drip and have no experience so far.

http://www.sprinklerwarehouse.com/category-s/8312.htm

This is what I know about gravity drip.

http://www.dripirrigation.com/drip_irrigation_chapters/9/drip_irrigation_pages/40
 
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   #8  

flusher

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Flusher,
I got my drip line from a local guy who sold his vineyard and had supplies left over. Two rolls of half inch line, 500 ft each, emitters every 24", 2 gallons per day each he said, $50 per roll, new. Also a soil moisture meter made in CA. ...long tube with probe on bottom and meter on top saying DRY/WET on a 100 point scale.

Yesterday I rolled out 500 ft and hooked to house hose....with filter, regulator, etc...water all leaked out before reaching end ...which is open so I could flush the line...Guess I need to find way to increase flow/pressure to that line. I was surprised it leaked out without reaching the end.

hunter ridge, I found this site to be informative since I know nothing about drip and have no experience so far.

Drip Tubing And Irrigation Basics


This is what I know about gravity drip.

About drip irrigation sgravity feed ystem

May need to upsize the regulator and filter to get higher flow rates. Also the garden hose may be the culprit--need larger hose.

Orchard growers around here use hundreds of thousands of feet of drip line for their crops (almonds, olives, prune plums, English walnuts, pistachios, mandarin oranges). Very few use sprinklers or flood irrigation since we've had drought conditions off and on for the past 5 years that has led to irrigation water rationing by the fed and CA water districts.
 
  
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texasjohn

texasjohn

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Flusher, I ran another test on entire 500 ft roll connected straight to faucet right at well house. No regulator or filter. Water still did not make it to open end, all dripped out somewhere in the big coil before reaching end. I know faucet opening is a restriction but am concluding I need to put a secondary pump on a tank separate from the well's pressure tank. Apparently well pump by itself cannot maintain sufficient pressure/flow. Confusing because we do not notice any problem with pressure in the house and I am tapping in right at the pump ahead of house line.

I have pump and tanks to do this...will take time to set up and try it.

Clearly there are implications for gravity flow.

I do note that the link I gave says that runs should be shorter than I am experimenting with.
 
 
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