Reconfiguring the Irrigation

When we hired the gardeners and they put mulch everywhere, I knew I had to change around at least some of the irrigation. Sprayers work fine with open ground, but they do poorly with mulch, at least in terms of letting the mulch suppress weeds.

I bought a massive pile of high-flow drip tubing. I'd like to spread the water we're getting from the sump more evenly around the garden, instead of literally inundating the lawn with water round the clock. That's kind of a long-term plan, but the immediate need was to replace some sprayers with drippers and extend drippers to some places where new plants need it.

irrigation tubing laid out on the deck

I started by making up components. Cutting lengths of drip tubing, working a splicer into one end, and closing off the other end with a figure-8 closure. I could have made the whole system continuous, but this arrangement made it easier to pre-measure and make the pieces.

The deck came in very handy for this, because the tubing behaves better when it has warmed up. I just laid everything out in the sub, let it sit while we went out for dim sum (as you do), then came home to work.

Spiral drip around the magnolia

The thing about installing drip irrigation is that it's all very subtle. The pictures mostly look like mulch with the occasional black tube going through it. One big change I made was to run a dripper under the roses, and then extend that out to the magnolia tree. I have never had irrigation at the magnolia, but I recently planted a clematis at the base to grow up the tree, and I think that will do better with more water, what with the root competition.

This spiral of drippers will put 13 gallons of water per hour down. This is pretty much a configuration that nobody else in this climate should ever use.

Speaking of the magnolia, we are in high hopes that we can ease up the staking holing the magnolia upright relatively soon. Maybe regular watering will help with that.

posted by ayse on 06/03/12

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