Drip questions

luis_pr(7b/8a)February 22, 2013

I already have a drip irrigation system installed by a landscape company almost 8 years ago or more. The drip system replaced a sprinkler system. I have been contemplating a separate system to water some potted plants that I envision getting. They will be thirsty plants like azaleas, camellias and hydrangeas so I lean towards watering them with a separate system so I do not end up watering the whole yard. The existing system is maxed out and I cannot add more zones.

This project has been in my head for the last 5 years or so but my first concern is me... to me a hammer is industrial equipment so I do not want to mess things up and end up sending water up to the Space Station instead. So I have been learning by going to several websites and hope to be done "thinking about this" in a few more years.

Question1: Another concern deals with directing the brown 1/2 inch tubing towards the area where the pots will be. I will have to go over a 1' high area and wondered if the new system will need some kind of pressure valve because I am forcing the water to flow upwards a little?

Question 2: I keep going to YOUTUBE to see videos where people connect these same 1/2 inch brown plastic tubes to smaller black tubing that reach towards the pots. They never list material names used in these videos by name. But they use something that looks like a stapler to punch a hole on the 1/2 inch brown tubes. What is that?

Question 3: The people in the videos also appear to insert a tiny doohickee into the brown tubes that connects both tubings, the 1/2 inch brown plastic tubes and thinner black plastic tubes that go to the individual pots. What is that called?

Question 4: The thinner black plastic tubing then somehow connects to a gizmo on the pots (looks like a stake) but I just found out that those gizmos come in various flavors. Oh great. The difference between them seems to be the amount of water that they put out, I think. If true, that messed me up. How do I know which version of this gizmo to use? In the videos, they used some numbers on various stakes: 0.5gph, 1gph, 2gph I think it was.

Question 5-6: Does gph mean gallons per hour? I usually would water the plants 1gallon per watering but which one to use (05 vs 1 vs 2gph)? Does it make a difference which one I use? It would not make a difference which one to use as long it drips 1 gallon when the watering is over. Or does it???

Question 7: It was also not clear how many of those gizmos/stakes people use on potted plants because I could not clearly tell how far the water reaches out. The flow of water seemed to be puny in the videos and seemed to be watering an area that I would describe as 25% of the surface area only. So to cover the rest of the area, I would need a total of 4 gizmos/stakes per pot?

I have not seen anyone use these things locally around here so I thought I would ask in this forum.

Question 8: My existing 1/2 inch brown tubing is kept at ground level most of the time and is covered with either soil or mulch. It seems to protect it from freezing weather. Will the smaller black tubing also work well during the winter time? I am hoping water will somehow drain out on its own when the system is shut off.

Question 9: Winters are mild here, with temps very rarely in the 10s. Those smaller black tubes would be exposed to the air going into the pots so I was wondering what one does during winter... These plants, being left outside, will still need watering but at a different frequency than during the spring/summer/fall. I assume that if it were to get real cold, would I have to remove/disassemble this drip system and move the pots indoors?

Last ?: is it true one can somehow attach liquid fertilizers and liquid iron chelated formulas into these drip systems? Someone at work thought this was doable.

TIA, Luis

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Luis, no need to take a couple of years to think this through. Drip irrigation is really quite simple, there’s just a lot of options. You say your zones are maxed, do you have a spigot you can use?
Q1. Running water 1’ upwards will not be a problem.
Q2. The ½” tubing is poly tubing and serves as your main line that supplies the water. The smaller tubing is usually referred to as micro tubing or spaghetti tubing and is generally ¼”. You don’t want that large ½ tubing going in to your pot, so you feed off of it with the ¼” tubing. The tool to make the hole, is called a punch tool.
Q3. The tiny “doohickie” that connects the micro tubing to the larger tubing is a ¼” connector. Has a barb on both ends, one end goes into the larger poly tubing and the micro tubing on the other end.
Q4. Looks like you might be referring to an adjustable dripper on a stake. That would also have a little barb on it, that you would connect the other end of the micro tubing to.
Q5-6. Yes, gph is gallons per hour. If you use a 1 gph dripper for an hour, it does not stop dripping after an hour (if that is what you mean). But in an hours time, it should put out approx. 1 gallon of water. I would suggest an adjustable for your pots, as they can cover a larger area.
Q7. The adjustable dripper, the more you open it, the more water it puts out and the wider the spray.
Q8. Micro tubing and fittings are not very expensive, so if you do have a problem, it would cost much to replace it. The fittings and drippers are what have a tendency to freeze and crack. You could always add a drain valve to your system when winter is approaching, this allows for most of the water to drain out of the line, via gravity.
Q9. If the sun shines on the tubing, it could melt the water in there, but if not and it stays frozen, you will have to water by hand.
Last ?. Yes, there is a way this can be done with a fertilizer injector and it can attach directly to your faucet. All of this is easy peasy, really!
I’ll also send you an email.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 10:30AM
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tulips101(5a sterling il.)

I use the products from Dripworks they explain everything on the site and even have videosto help you i hope this helps

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 11:23AM
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