Answer: A mechanical or electronic timer to turn the water on and off is not necessary, but they are convenient. It's really up to you. If you can be there (or remember to) turn the water off and on, a timer isn't necessary. What you will need are the following components for your system:
Backflow preventer - or anti-siphon device is required to prevent water from the system re-entering your water supply when the system is turned off. Backflow prevention devices are required in most areas.
Pressure regulator - or pressure reducer. The typical home water supply has too much pressure. If the pressure is over 50 psi, you will need a pressure regulator.
Hose fitting - connects the tubing to the pressure regulator.
Tubing - 1/2, 1/4, 3/8, 5/8, or .710 depending on the needs and manufacturer. Used for the main supply line and smaller lines for individual plants and containers. Tubing is usually made from black polyethylene. The smaller "microtubes" can be used in tight spaces and are easily disguised.
Straight - used to connect one section of tubing to another
Elbow - to allow right angle turns
Tee - fittings are used to split the direction
End fitting/figure eight - closes the system at the end of the line
Emitters - available with different flow rates to accommodate the needs of the plant. Located at soil level or elevated on stakes or risers. There are several types, choose based on where you want the water to go. All are rated by their GPH delivery.
Bubblers - often used for trees and shrubs - deliver more water in less time
Dripper - slow, low quantity delivery right at the root system.
Mister - provides humidity
Hole punch - used to make insertion points in the tubing where emitter are located
Goof plugs - securely stop up the hole you punched by mistake (or allow you to move an emitter without replacing the tubing)
Barbed Adapter - used to connect tubing and emitters
Riser - allows emitters to be placed above the plants
Stakes - secure with stakes to elevate ? prevent clogging by soil or bugs
Hope this information helps you design an efficient drip system for your landscape.
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