How to Install a Drip line
Installing a drip system can be quite complicated and time consuming….not to mention expensive. Let’s not look at it that way. Let’s consider a drip line for, say, an extra hand, to darken the green in your thumb. Yes, drip systems, true systems, are more complicated than what I’m gonna show you today.
Have you ever wondered how I’ve grown my gardens so full and so quickly? Drip lines. There is no other way, in, dry dusty, 110 degree West Texas (The driest place on earth), could I keep 1/2-3/4 of an acre planted to the gills….looking lush like mine. Drip lines are like adding ten people and gallons more water to your toolkit.
With all the hulubulu about water conservation…drip lines just make sense. To supplement you shrubs…this method is wonderful, and inexpensive.
- 1/2″ drip line, the length of your planting area.
- drip emitter kit (tool to puncture the emitter holes, and plugs)
- drip emitters. (for simple systems…you’ll need the pressure compensating emitters.) For larger shrubs, I use between 1-2 gal/per hour emitters. For smaller plants and flowers, 1/2 gallon is generally enough.
- You’ll need the ends. One that fits the faucet and the opposite for the end for clean out.
Take your 1/2″ tubing that will look something like this:
This isn’t the prettiest picture in the world…but it’s effective. This has strange-looking emitters on it…which you most likely won’t find in your local hardware store…but most of these supplies you can find in lawn supply areas almost anywhere. The 1/2″ tubing is anywhere they sell drip systems and supplies also. When purchased new, it will not have holes or ends….just a coil of tubing. It’s hard….not like a water hose. Because it’s thicker and harder, it will hold up in the elements for a lot longer time. I generally lay this out as I’m planting an area, or right after. Don’t puncture any holes until you have your plants in…and your hose laid out like you want. I usually place mine close to the base of the plants. As they grow, they will pretty much cover the line…and if it really bothers you…mulch can solve this problem. Don’t get too fussy about getting it right up against all of your plants….I have a hint in case it doesn’t lay close enough to one or so. The 1/2″ tubing will be, your most expensive item…aside from your emitters…and those you really can’t control the amount of.
Once the tubing is all laid out along your plantings, you can decide where to cut the two ends. I always try to end my hoses near my faucet so that I don’t have to stretch water hoses out all over the yard to reach the drip lines. Once you do…you can put your ends on the tubing….it will look something like this one. Putting the ends on are pretty self explainatory….just be sure you try to get the screw on type…not the type that you have to just push on. You’ll break your wrist putting them on! (the one in the photo is a push on…believe me when I say I learned this lesson the hard way!)
You can either screw this end onto the faucet…or the end of a water hose. The opposite end will look like the end of a water hose…with a screw of cap for clean out.
Once you’ve place your lines you can puncture your drip emitter holes. Be sure you try not to place them any less than 18″ apart ( this will cause too much of a loss in pressure.) You can locate your hole punch tool at the same place you get all the other supplies…and it will look something like mine.
This handy little darling, makes the perfect size holes for your emitters…and requires very little effort to do. It will most likely come with some mistake plugs too. They don’t work perfectly…so just try not to punch your holes till you have your placement figured out. There are several different looking plugs…but this is the basic concept.
Now place your choice of emitter into the hole…using the end with the ridged tip…the ridge prevents it from working itself out of the tubing. The smooth end is the end for the drips.
Here are a few examples of several different emitters and a sprinkler nozzle…isn’t it adorable? lol
Once you place your emitters in…if you have any plants that you couldn’t reach with the tubing…you can buy this 1/8″ tubing to push onto the smooth end of the emitter…and extend it over to the base of the plants. Looking something like this. This is basically like air conditioning tubing…only black…to prevent moss growing inside it. This comes on a roll…and is pretty cheap…and you can extend it as far as you need to, so that you can put your larger tubing in a straighter line.
Here’s one of those adorable sprinkler nozzles in place. (AND…it looks like I need to do some repairs on it! lol) You really do need to wait till everything is in place to put in any sprinklers…they need to be pointing straight up to get the coverage you need.
Now…hook her up…and give it a test run. Remember, you can buy a back-flow preventor….and probably should. You can also get as elaborate as you like with timers and all kinds of fun gadgets…but it doesn’t have to be fancy…to be effective.
Once you have your drip lines up and running…don’t fail to walk them each time you use them. The emitters can get stopped up…and cause a plant to die. I just take the few minutes it takes to walk each of mine every time I run them. It still takes a fraction of the time to walk them….than it would to constantly move a sprinkler. Your plants are gonna LOVE you for this. Plants prefer to be watered at the base…and you’re gonna just freak out when you see how much time and water this saves.
Do love to plant, but don’t have the time to keep everything watered? Sounds like you need to install a drip line.