The Q&A Archives: How do you put in a drip system?

Question: I need to put a drip system in for new plants I am going to buy. Giant bird of paradise, bird of paradise and pigmy palms. All of which will be potted with flowers inside the pots. What components do I need to buy? Do I route the tubing through the bottom of the pot? Can I adjust how much water goes to each pot? Do you have any advice for taking care of these types of plants? I live in Orange County Ca.

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 Pigmy Palm will each need 2 or 3 emitters that deliver about 2 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. You can do a little homework by measuring the area in which you want to install the drip system and then taking your design to your nearest Home Depot. Helpful staff there can determine what components you'll need for your finished design. Remember to 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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