How to establish drip irrigation

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A great question many have been asking is how to establish a drip irrigation system cheaply and on your own. Well, we have an answer – follow this article closely for information regarding how to establish a drip irrigation system on your own!

Drip irrigation systems are surprisingly easy to establish. Compared to traditional sprinkler systems, drip irrigation systems are rather simple to design, inexpensive, and unchallenging to install. Conventional high pressure, high volume sprinkler systems require a lot more effort to establish in areas including careful planning, extensive trenching, and special tools. However, while these sprinkler systems are highly used, they tend to use unnecessary amounts of water and create unwanted variation and inconsistencies in crops. On the other hand, drip irrigation systems deliver water measured in Gallons Per Hour (GPH), and apply water only where it is needed, thus using less water, but having a greater impact. This substantially improves plant health, conserves water tremendously, and reduces the growth of weeds around the crops.


When designing and establishing a drip irrigation system, you must consider the various areas and plants to be watered before starting. It is best and most wise to use a drip irrigation application on trees, shrubs, plants, vines, vegetables, flowerbeds, plant containers, pots, and any individual plant and narrow planting areas. This is not an exclusive list. If you have any questions, feel free to visit the “Contact Us” Page on the menu bar.

The first step in designing a drip irrigation system is to note and list the locations of the various living organisms that are to be included in the drip irrigation. After doing so, divide the plants into smaller groups based on watering and sun needs.

Before moving on, it is important to note what type of soil and the soil conditions you have. Soil serves as the storage room for vital and necessary plant nutrients and is therefore extremely important. It acts as the medium through which water and nutrients move in order to get to the plant. It anchors plants and is a reservoir of water which initiates and maintains plant growth. There are several different variations of soil, each with different characteristics that determine what types of drippers or micro sprinklers should be used. To determine which type of soil you have in a given area, take a handful of DRY soil, grip tightly for a few seconds, and release. Then read the following and user your judgement to determine the type of soil it is.

  • SANDY SOIL – Sandy soil will crumble and most likely fall apart when released from your hand. Water will tend to go straight down in this type of soil. This type of soil is also the least invasive. For best results, it is recommended that you use closely spaced 2GPH drippers situated about ten to twelve inches apart OE micro sprinklers in a wider spacing configuration.
  • LOAMY SOIL – Loamy soil will tend to hold together at first but then will easily break apart. Water will move slowly and will spread evenly across the soil. With this type of soil, we recommend you use 1GPH drippers with 1about sixteen to eighteen inch spacing.
  • CLAY SOIL – Soil containing clay will tend to hold together without breaking and therefore, water will be absorbed very slowly. This type of soil is easy to observe. Use .5GPH or 1GPH drippers with about eighteen to twenty-four inch spacing.


Choosing a method

Determining how to start a system and what products to select are probably the most important decisions to be made during this process and therefore should be made carefully. Take time and consideration while making these decisions. The correct choice will depend on the size of the area, the availability of water outlets, the garden design and the type of plant material to be irrigated. From the following three methods discussed in detail, you may select the start method that is most appropriate for your drip system.

Method 1 – using a faucet connection

One of the more easy ways to install a drip system above the ground is starting from a faucet using a half-inch poly tubing as the main lateral line. It may be set up for automation by using a timer on the hose-end. In order to set up, attach one of the kits shown in the images below to the faucet and the 1/2″ poly tubing to the swivel adapter.

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Method 2 – Connecting to an irrigation valve

Another method to connect your drip system can be used. You may connect it to an anti-siphon valve above OR below the ground. This type of valve is known as a combination valve and is an atmospheric backflow preventer. An in-line valve requires the use of a backflow prevention device, such as the one described earlier. It is important to check local codes for either application before beginning.

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Method 3 – Retrofitting a sprinkler system riser

Click on the links under the photos to see more information regarding your options.

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4-Outlet Emitter                                                                  6-Outlet Emitter

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6-Outlet Adjustable Emitter                                       8-Outlet Adjustable Emitter


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A conversion elbow, pressure regulator and swivel adapter can be utilized in order to convert a half-inch sprinkler head riser directly to a poly tubing.


Distributing the Water

Now that we have selected a way to connect the drip irrigation application to a usable water source, it is time to roll out the hose in order to lay down a path for the water to travel to your plants. This is simple; all it takes is three simple steps to distribute the water. Follow along carefully.


Roll Out the Hose

Ensure that the water source is connected. Next step: unroll a hose or drip line. Position the hose in your garden or flowerbed. Click on the links located under the images for more information.

Drip Line                   1/2 inch Poly Tubing             1/4 inch Poly Tubing
Drip Line
                                             1/2″ Poly Tubing                      1/4″ Poly Tubing
Here is one way you can lay the tubing in your desired flower bed:
Cutting the Hose
Now that we have laid out the hose and double checked to make sure the layout is correct. Make sure you are satisfied with the length before moving on. Use Poly Pipe Cutters to make clean and precise cuts.
Poly-Gator Tool                           SB3300 Pipe Cutter                    KwikCut Pipe Cutter
Poly-Gator Tool
                            SB3300                      KwikCut Pipe Cutter
Punch the Holes for the Emitters

Using the punch tool, (links above) make a hole in the half-inch hose wherever you would like in order to place an emitter or a one-fourth inch barbed fitting for a connection to the distribution tubing. Be extra careful when doing this, but if you happen to punch a hole in the wrong spot, you have the option of sealing it using a goof plug (see pictures below).  Use a half-inch tubing stake to secure the half-inch tubing to the ground and utilize one-fourth inch fittings to snap it directly into the holes created previously in order to connect the one-fourth inch distribution tubing. This type of connection can be used so as to reach the individual plants.

NOTE: It Is Important To Flush Out Any Debris Before Closing The Line With A 1/2″ Hose End. Make Sure It Is Done Correctly.


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