The Q&A Archives: Drip Irrigation

Question: I'm installing drip irrigation to the following:
1) Giant bird of Paradise (Strelitzia Nicolai)
2) Yuletide Camellia's (Camellia Sasanqua)
3) Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia Reginae)
1) Seiryu Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum Dissectum)

Can I use the same drip line and a mini-inline dripper (on a stake) to each plant/tree. How close to each plant/tree should the stake be located? Logic tells me that the tree and probably the giant bird would require more water. Should I consider two mini-inline drippers to the giant bird and tree?

The hose is 1/4 inch. How frequent should it run ( 2x a day?) and how long per watering (20 minutes?).

Answer: Designing a drip system can sometimes be confusing and there is really no rule of thumb. In general, large shrubs such as your Giant Bird of paradise and camellia will each need 2 or 3 emitters that deliver about 2 gallons per hour. The maple tree will need 3-5 emitters with a flow rate of 2-4 gallons per hour. The Bird of paradise will need 1-3 emitters with a flow rate of 1 gallon per hour. While you can use a single drip line for all of the plants, you'll need to adjust the gallons per hour each of the microtubes deliver by adjusting the size of the tubing. Place the emitters over the root mass of your plant, not immediately next to the main stem or trunk. Drip systems typically run for 2 hours at 3-7 day intervals (depending upon your soil type and the season). I'd set the system up this way and adjust as necessary according to how your plants react. You can also check the soil moisture by digging down near the roots of your plants to see how moist or dry it is. Hope this information at least gives you enough background knowledge to set your system up correctly. Best wishes with your garden!

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