If you are using miniscape / netafim sub-surface irrigation then you need to know the following:
a) The pipe (brown stuff) should be laid at correct spacing – for example some miniscape is rated at 30cm intervals and it needs to be laid accordingly.
b) It needs to run for around an hour to apply the correct amount of water.
c) The picture above is of the line flushing valve. When you turn the system on this will release water for around 30 seconds. It can look like your retic is ‘leaking’ but its not. Its normal.
d) You shouldn’t have more than an 8m run of brown pipe before it plugs back into the poly. You will lose too much pressure otherwise.
e) You should have a vacuum valve at the higest point of the system
f) You can also add filters to ensure the water is free from contaminants
You can and it would be very effective but I’m not a fan personally.
a) You will save around 40% in terms of water usage.
b) Your lawn will be easier to mow and will look great
a) It can be impossible to really know if its not working. You can install signal flags in the line, but you can only use so many of them before it looks odd.
b) Locating problems can be difficult and requires digging up your lawn to make repairs.
c) Its more expensive
So – yes – you can do it – but I wouldn’t want to be maintaining it!
When it comes to watering your garden you have several choices:
a) Microsprays – these are the most commonly used product as they generate a lot of water can be targeted at individual plants and are also cheap. Their negative is that they tend to mist and a lot of their spray gets lost. They also get blocked easily.
b) Shrub Sprays – these are larger rigid risers that have a similar spray pattern to regular pop-ups so they can cover areas 3-4 metres with no problem. They are good for garden beds over 1.2m in width where microsprays would not give adequate coverage. Their negatives are that they are a little more expensive and because they are also spaced further apart if a shrub happens to grow up and block the spray then they become ineffective. (The picture is only of the head as the risers can any length)
c) Subsurface Irrigation / Miniscape – If installed correctly and run for the correct length of time approx (60 mins) this is a highly efficient method of watering. The slow release dripline is spaced at either 15ml or 30ml intervals and waters the base of the plant. There is no wastage due to wind. The negatives of this system is that it is more costly and it is also a bit more difficult to work around if you plan on digging in the garden. I have installed this several times and can see the benefits, but personally I like to see the water being distributed.
d) Adjustable Staked Drippers – This is a good middle ground between the water efficient miniscape and the less waterwise microsprays/risers. With this system individual drippers are placed either next to a plant or between plants and they then drip/spray to a very localised area. The drippers can be adjusted to spray a radius of up to 800ml or they can be turned right down to a mere trickle. They are more expensive than the microsprays but I’d suggest they are an excellent compromise between water volume, visibility and expense.
At the end of the day you need to be satisfied that what you choose is going to do the job for you, but these are some of the most common options.
A regular request is for us to create a system that does not have any water spraying onto the path/road etc.
This is pretty tricky in lawn areas but much easier in garden beds. In lawn areas the sprays span significant distances and while we do our best to avoid overspray it is important to have a little to allow for shifts in wind direction. Obviously its crazy to have water spraying directly on the road, but a little overspray is considered acceptable.
In garden beds it is easier to prevent this as miniscape and staked adjustable drippers allow for very specific watering. Miniscape is the subsoil drip system that is placed under mulch and releases water very slowly to the desired areas. If you aren’t a fan of miniscape (and many people aren’t) then you may prefer the staked adjustable drippers.
The drippers are attached to flexible 4ml tubing and plugged into the main 19ml poly line. In general you can have up to 70 drippers on one line and still be effective.
Personally I like drippers better than miniscape, as it is easier to see how they are working, but the cost is not significantly different if that is the main issue for you.