2nd part of a 3 part series.
In our previous blog, we discussed connecting the water source components for starting a drip irrigation system. In this section, we will focus on the items that make up the Water Distribution for a drip irrigation system.
Now the term, Water Distribution, may sound complex, but it’s really just a term for the components that are used to bring water from your Water Source connection to the areas that need water in your garden or landscapes. So in laymen terms, Water Distribution components are simply just solid Drip Irrigation Tubing and fittings.
Drip Tubing, aka Drip Irrigation Tubing, Poly Tubing, Poly Pipe, Supply Line, Trunk Line (Common term for Polyethylene pipe), Is a flexible black irrigation tubing hose which is used for both main and lateral drip irrigation water lines. Drip tubing is designed as a thin walled product to allow for easy connection to either Compression Fittings or Direct Loc Tubing Fittings. Because of its thinness, drip tubing can be punctured with a hole punch and connected to smaller “micro” drip tubing lines to act as lateral “feeders” to plants, flowers, trees and shrubs.
Before rolling out your drip tubing, it’s best to lay it out in the sun for at least 30 minutes or more (Video). This helps to soften the tubing and makes unrolling it much easier. When laying drip tubing, it’s best to roll it out in the same way you would roll a tire. This helps prevents kinks in the tubing. Begin unrolling the drip tubing by weighting down the end of the tubing with a heavy object or tubing hold down stake to keep it in place. Roll out the tubing in the desired areas according to your design. Keep some slack in your drip tubing runs to allow for expansion and contraction due to temperature changes in the weather. Install tubing hold down stakes every 5 to 10 feet to hold the tubing in place.
The above illustration shows an example of how the solid drip irrigation tubing supply line can be run from the water source out to the area to be watered.
By design, drip irrigation tubing is flexible in its application. Adding to or changing your drip tubing layout is easy. Removable Direct-Loc drip fittings make it easy to reconfigure your drip system if your needs or landscape designs change. Use compression or Direct Loc drip tubing fittings to make the necessary connections in drip irrigation tubing. Couplings allow for two ends of tubing to be joined together. Elbows are used when drip tubing needs to make a sharp turn. Tees allow for new branches to be run from exiting drip tubing lines. End Caps are used to terminate the ends of drip tubing lines.
In general, we do not recommend burying drip irrigation tubing. The reason being is that drip tubing is a thin walled product and may become compressed over time, reducing or cutting off the flow of water to areas of your garden or landscape. We recommend using mulch, bark or wood chips to hide the drip tubing if desired. Doing so can actually extend the life of the drip tubing by shielding it from direct sunlight. If you need to bury your drip tubing, it’s best to sleeve the tubing in solid PVC pipe.
In our next blog, we’ll discuss the next section, Water Devices. This covers all the parts needed to deliver water directly to the plants.