Drip Irrigation - Knowledgebase Question

Henderson, Ne
Question by Darthmephist
August 2, 2010
A 30GPM valve connected to 100-120 ft. line w/ 46 to 50 emitters of variable flow rates, 9 (5g) & 2 (2.5g) lantanas, 6 (20ft) tall palms in groups of 2, 3 (5ftx5ft) palms, 2 potted (5g) Bougainvillea & a 10ftx8ft quarter circle of lawn. How many emitters can it have w/o losing pressure? What type & how many emitters should each plant type have? When & how often to water?


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Answer from NGA
August 2, 2010

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You may have to divide your landscape into zones to accommodate all of your plants: Add the flow rate of all emitters, emitter tubing and components used in a zone to make sure you have not exceeded the maximum flow for the zone. For example, fifty 2 gph emitters require 100 gallons of flow per hour (50 x 2 = 100 gph). You need to consider your soil type, plant water requirements (your plants are considered low water use plants), and season when setting and adjusting irrigation times. More water will be required in peak summer heat than in cooler spring and fall temperatures so change run times accordingly.

Irrigate Xeric perennials initially with 1 gallon per week. Extend the time between watering once established. Equip perennials and annuals using moderate amounts of water with emitters or emitter tubing to receive 2 gallons per week.

A shrub the size of a plant growing in a 5 gallon nursery container should receive 4 to 6 gallons weekly. Add more emitters per plant for higher water using shrubs and reduce the emitter flow size for more xeric shrubs. Large shrubs may require 10 to 12 gallons of water weekly. Monitor the soil moisture to check that you are not overwatering as too much water kills many newly planted plants.

Established trees may require up to 10 gallons weekly per inch of trunk diameter. For example, a tree with a 2-inch trunk diameter may require 15 to 20 gallons per week (2 in. diameter x 10 gals/diameter inch = 20 gallons). With a compact root ball at planting, amounts to water new trees are less than established trees with a wide-ranging root system. For a new-planted ?whip,? 1 to 2 gallons per week are often sufficient. For a 1 inch caliper newly planted tree, 6 to 8 gallons weekly is an initial target amount. For a 2 inch caliper tree, consider 10 to 12 gallons weekly at planting.

Use the above guidelines as a rough initial guide and then check the soil moisture at the rooting depth of the plant the following day. Adjust irrigation run times accordingly. Best wishes with your new system.

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