Irrigation Direct

The Grass Just Got Greener

Getting Started with a Drip Irrigation System: Water Distribution

Posted on October 2nd, 2014 by Jeff Simser

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.  710-size-drip-tubing-100-feet-polyethylene-solid-mainline-tubing-dd-dh710-100

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.

Designing and Planning You Drip Irrigation

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. 700-flow-control-valve

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.

Getting Started with a Drip Irrigation System: The Water Source Connection

Posted on August 18th, 2014 by Jeff Simser

1st part of a 3 part series.

Being in the industry for as long as we have, you start to hear some of the same customer questions over and over. How do I do this or what do I need to do that. But the one question we hear above all other questions is simply… Where do I start?

Of course, that question is akin to the opening of Pandora’s Box and all that‘s related, but in fairness, it’s probably that same question I’ve have asked myself on many occasions. So with that question being asked, my answer is simple… You start at the beginning.

Over the years, I’ve come to compartmentalize a Drip Irrigation System into three sections. The first section of a Drip Irrigation system is the Water Source Connection. This covers all the parts needed to attach your drip irrigation system to your water source. In most cases, the water source will be your standard outdoor water faucet (aka, Hose Faucet, Hose Spigot or Tap). A standard water faucet comes with 3/4” male hose threads on the end. This lets you to attach a garden hose to the faucet for use around the yard. Now knowing that this is the “starting point”, the components needed to attach your drip irrigation system to your hose faucet, start to fall in place. The parts common to this are the Hose Timer, Vacuum faucetBreaker, Hose Filter, Pressure Regulator and Tubing Adapter.  All of these components come with 3/4″ male and female hose threads so that each part can be connected to one other in series.

The order in which the water source components connect together is important and connect as follows:

Hose Vacuum Breaker: aka Back-flow Preventer. Prevents water from flowing back from your drip irrigation system into your household water.

Hose Filter:  Helps remove rust, sand, silt and other impurities that may clog drip emitters, micro sprayers or fittings over time.

Pressure Regulator: Reduces household water pressure to a lower set pressure for use with drip emitters, micro sprayers and drip tape irrigation systems.

Tubing Adapters: aka Hose Swivel Adapters: Use to attach 1/2″ or 1/4” mainline drip tubing to a water source connection assembly.

To automate your drip irrigation system, an optional Hose Water Timer can be added.  To create a split water source connection for access to a garden hose, a Y Ball Valve can be added.

We’ve created a short video showing the water source components needed and how they attach to your hose faucet and to one another: How To Install Water Source Components (Short Version)

Another related question we receive are from customers asking if the water source components can be installed on the ground. It seems that some customers have water faucets that are very close to the ground and won’t allow the garden patch hoseconnection of all the water source components because of its overall length when assembled. In this situation, all of the items except for the Hose Vacuum Breaker can be installed either on the ground or closer to the area to be watered. Due to the way the Hose Vacuum Breaker functions, it must be installed at the highest point of elevation in the yard. Since most water faucets are above the areas to be watered, this is the most logical place for the Hose Vacuum Breaker to be installed.

To bridge the gap between the Hose Vacuum Break and the rest of the Water Source Components, a short length of garden hose can be used. These short length garden hoses can be found of most local hardware stores and come with both female and male threaded hose connections.

Now as mentioned above, you can also installed the components closer to the area to be watered instead of at the hose faucet. The purpose for this tends to come from customers not wanting to run the black Drip Irrigation tubing across their yard. Instead, they would use their garden hose as an extension of the water source connection and have the option of removing the garden hose if needed. As noted before, all the components can be installed either at the water faucet or at the area to be watered..IE, Garden or Flower Beds. Just be sure to always install the Hose Vacuum breaker at the water faucet.


In our next blog, we’ll discuss the next section, Water Distribution. This covers all the parts needed to bring your water to the areas that require watering.

Cycle and Soak: Avoiding Water Runoff in an Irrigation Sprinkler System

Posted on August 19th, 2013 by Jeff Simser

We’ve all seen it before…  whether it be a home, business or park, the streams of water running off the lawn, flowing across the side walk and traveling down the street gutters. It’s a sight I see myself every morning as I’m walking my dog through the neighborhood. Of course, being in the “industry” for as many years as I have, it’s easy to notice these kinds of things that most people simply ignore.

Walk down any side walk in a residential area or business park in the morning and you will see the telltale signs of sprinkler irrigation runoff everywhere.  So this got me to thinking about how much water is actually being wasted and ways to help with applying water more efficiently and reducing wasteful water runoff.

In doing some research on the internet, I came across some information that stated that 50% of the water applied with a sprinkler irrigation system was wasted…. 50%! If you used 20,000 gallons of water yearly to water your lawn, you’ve lost 10,000 gallons in runoff alone.  In my area, 10,000 gallons costs around fifty dollars. It doesn’t seem like much, but when you start adding up all the houses, businesses and parks, millions of gallons of water and money are going to waste. In my neighborhood alone of 250 houses, I estimated that we waste over 1.6 million gallons of water at a cost of $6,800.00. I can only imagine about the amount of water and money that are being wasted at the city level.

Now again, being in the “industry”, I already knew the solution to the problem… Well maybe not the solution, but a better way of applying water which results in less water waste overall. A way in which the percentage of waste could be reduced from 50% to maybe 15% to 20%. Now let me be perfectly honest, there are no sprinkler irrigation systems that are 100% efficient. A certain amount water waste will always occur. Even systems that capture and reuse runoff will still have water loss.

So what’s this magical answer to reducing water runoff? Welcome to the process known as Cycle and Soak. The process of Cycle and Soak is very simple…. but before I give the answer, let me explain what is happening to your soil when your sprinkler irrigation system is watering. The soil in your landscape is like a sponge, and just like a sponge, it can only hold so much water. The terms associated with this are called the Percolation Rate and Saturation Point.

The Percolation Rate is the amount of water your soil can absorb at any given time. This rate is dependent on the makeup of the soil in your landscape. Harder soils like clay absorb water very slowly, where as looser soils like loam or sand absorb water very quickly. If you apply water faster than your soil can absorb, the water just pools up and runs off your lawn. It’s just like water sheeting off glass.

The Saturation Point simply refers to the amount of water the soil can hold overall. Think of it in terms of filling a 5 gallon bucket. When the bucket is empty and you fill it with water, the water stays in the bucket, but when you reach the top of the bucket and you don’t shut off the water… what happens? The water overflows the bucket, down the sides and is wasted, just like your soil does.

So now that we know the problem, let’s discuss the function of Cycle and Soak and what it can do to help with preventing runoff.

Cycle and Soak is the process of applying less water over multiple watering run times. This gives the soil enough time to soak up the water before the sprinklers run again.  As an example, let’s say you water your lawn every morning at 7am for 15 minutes per valve and you have 4 valve total. Your irrigation waters a total of an hour a day. Now through trial and error, you’ve found that this is the optimal watering schedule to keep your landscape green and healthy.

So now with Cycle and Soak, let’s break this schedule down and find a more efficient way to water the landscape. Instead of watering each valve for 15 minutes, it would be better to run each valve for 5 minutes but run them 3 times a day instead of just the 1 time. So what would the new schedule look like and how would this help?

The new program would now have you water 5 minutes at each valve and water at 6am, 7am & 8am. This program gives each valve a Cycle Time of 5 minutes with a soil Soak Time of 4o minutes before the valves run again. The soil now has time to soak up the water that has been applied. The landscape is still getting watered for an hour in total as it was before, it’s just being watered more efficiently to help create less water runoff…. and because you are watering more efficiently, you can actually reduce the overall watering times per valve… IE, 4 minutes per valve instead of the original 5 minutes. Now the irrigation system is only watering for 48 minutes in total instead of the original 60 minutes. Not only are you saving water by loosing less from runoff but you are using less water overall while still keeping your landscape green.

Now no two systems are the same. Certain landscapes may need more or less water, but understanding how the Cycle and Soak function works, you now have a tool to help you with applying water to your landscape and reducing the overall waste of a very precious resource.


Irrigation Direct specializes in both Drip Irrigation Supplies and Sprinkler Irrigation Supplies.

Repairing and Plugging Holes in a Drip Irrigation System – The Goof Plug

Posted on December 12th, 2012 by Jeff Simser

Our Solution of the Week question comes from Marilyn…

We need to remove and relocate several drip emitters in our drip irrigation system. What can we use to plug up the holes where the drip emitters use to be or do we need to replace the drip tubing?

Hello Marilyn, we absolutely have a solution for your situation. Irrigation Direct offers a big solution in a small fitting.

The Goof Plug  (aka. Mistake Plug) is a 1/8″ by 1/4″ dual end plug and is used with drip irrigation to plug holes in both half inch and three quarter inch solid drip irrigation tubing. It’s also used to cap off the ends of quarter inch solid micro tubing, soaker hose dripline and homemade in-line drip emitter tubing.

It also allows you to remove and relocate quarter inch barbed fittings or drip emitters to another location on your drip irrigation tubing.

When you install a goof plug, no glue is required.

To install a goof plug, simply locate the barbed fitting or drip emitter you want to move. Remove the fitting or drip emitter by pulling it off of the drip tubing. Next, place the large end of the goof plug between your thumb and forefinger. Then insert the small end of the plug into the hole, pushing inward until the plug snaps into place. (Click for installation video)

If you need to cap off the ends of quarter inch micro tubing or soaker hose dripline, simply insert the small 1/8″ end of the goof plug into the ends of the tubing and push inward until the tubing sits flush with the goof plugs collar.

If the hole in the drip tubing is larger then usual, simply use the large 1/4″ end of the goof plug to seal the hole.


Good luck! Let us know how this works for you. If you have an example of a creative solution to a drip irrigation problem, please share it. Include your questions too.

Tips for Winterizing Your Drip Irrigation System

Posted on November 20th, 2012 by Jeff Simser

Once again it’s that time of year that those of us in the drip irrigation industry all dread… System Winterizing.

In areas that are prone to freezing or for long periods on inactivity, we always recommend the winterizing of your drip irrigation system. Winterizing is the process of removing water from a drip system that would otherwise damage the tubing and components during freezing weather.

To begin, start by shutting off your water faucet or mainline that supplies water to your drip irrigation system. Insulate all exposed water pipes that are above the ground by wrapping them with insulation

Remove any hose timers, its batteries and store inside a dry location. For irrigation valves, removing the internal rubber diaphragm will extend the diaphragms life.

Remove all drip irrigation tubing hose end caps and allow the water to drain completely. To “blow out” your drip system, use of an air compressor is recommended as long as the pressure is limited to 30 psi or under. Higher pressures can result in damaging your drip tubing or components. Once the water has been removed, replace the end caps. This will help to keep out any dirt or insects.

In areas of harsh prolonged to freezing, we recommend rolling up your drip irrigation tubing altogether. Removal of your drip irrigation tubing can easily be done by installing our Direct-Loc fittings during the initial installation. These drip fittings make removal and installation of your drip irrigation system tubing quick and easy.

It helps to keep a small repair kit of parts to deal with any problems that might occur over time. Common parts to have on hand are 1/4” barbed fittings, 1/2” tubing couplings, small lengths of both 1/4” and 1/2” solid drip tubing, extra drip emitters and plenty of goof plugs.

Advantages & Benefits of a Drip Irrigation System

Posted on October 17th, 2012 by Jeff Simser

In this time of water and resource conservation, drip irrigation makes sense. It is generally less expensive to install than conventional subsurface PVC systems and it uses much less water.

Water Conservation – Drip irrigation allows you an efficient means watering by supplying water where it is needed – at the very roots of the plants. As a result, water is not wasted on leaves or soil. This significantly reduces the chances for evaporation and run off. Both are common with traditional irrigation systems where the water is often supplied at a rate greater than the soil can absorb it.

Reduce Weed Growth – When water is applied using a conventional sprinkler, everything gets wet. Since drip irrigation systems applies water directly to the root zone of your plants, the spaces in between plants remain dry. This greatly inhibits weed seed germination. If the soil remains dry, most seeds will not germinate. Landscape maintenance will takes less time with drip irrigation.

Reduce Plant Stress – When plants get deep, consistent watering, they thrive. Inefficient, shallow watering can contribute to plant stress. Promote healthy growth and disease resistance plants in your garden with a drip irrigation system.

Extremely Flexible Application – Drip Irrigation offers many options. From drip irrigation tubing, fittings, emitters and micro sprayers, drip products can create a versatile watering system which can easily be installed on hillsides or flat terrains. Drip systems can be added to containers, planters, raised beds, row crops, trees and shurbs. Drip is the perfect irrigation method for oddly shaped landscapes and windy areas. Existing sprinkler systems can be retrofit with drip irrigation with very little effort.

Save Money – Once installed,  a drip irrigation system will use much less water to irrigate. If you are on a well, you will notice a severe drop in your pumping costs. Hand watering your garden will become a thing of the past. You can even automate you drip irrigation system by installation an irrigation controller. This can help eliminate the need to pay someone to water your landscape while on vacation. With the reduction of plant disease and unwanted weeds, your gardening labor and maintenance costs will drop considerably.

Not Sure Where to Begin? - Irrigation Direct offers one of the largest selections of custom designed Drip Irrigation Kits available in the industry. Our Drip Irrigation Kits are the best way to get started with a drip irrigation, micro spray or row crop irrigation system. Each Drip Irrigation Kit helps take the guess work out of deciding on which parts are needed when planning for a micro drip irrigation system. Each Drip Irrigation Kit provides you with all the necessary components needed to install a micro drip irrigation system to a residential water faucet.


Irrigation Direct offers a free comprehensive drip irrigation Design Guide. Our design guide includes everything you will need to plan, design & install your own drip irrigation system.

Drip Irrigation & Tools of the Trade – The Super Punch

Posted on October 10th, 2012 by Jeff Simser

As with any project, having the right tool can make the job much easier to do. When installing a Drip Irrigation system, this same principle applies. One such tool used in the installation of a Drip System is the Hole Punch.

Drip Irrigation Hole Punches are used for making holes in solid drip irrigation mainline tubing to install drip emitters, sprayers or 1/4” barbed drip fittings.

One of our more popular Hole Punches is our Super Punch.

For medium to large Drip Irrigation installations, the Super Punch can be a time saver. Constructed of heavy duty plastic, the Super Punch cuts clean precise holes in poly tubing with minimal effort. It’s designed to fit comfortably in your hand and work just like a pair of pliers. It has a tip that cuts a quarter inch hole in both 1/2″ and 3/4″ quarter inch solid poly tubing…. Just squeeze the handle to punch holes.

Using the Super Punch is easy.

Simply locate the area on the drip tubing where you what to add a barbed fitting or drip emitter. Next, place the tubing into the slot and firmly press down. As you pierce the tubing, you may hear a popping sound.


For larger 3/4” poly tubing, remove the 1/2” tubing sleeve, place the tubing into the slot and firmly press down.

When installing solid drip irrigation tubing, the tubing can often become soft in warm to hot weather. This can make it more difficult to punch holes in the drip tubing. It is easier to punch holes at cooler times of the day, or by running cold water through the tubing first.

I’ve been using a standard hole punch for years. Every year, I had to punch several hundred holes in our drip tubing to either add or change drip emitters in our drip irrigation system. With your Super Punch, I’ve cut the time it takes to punch all my holes buy half. Amazing!! – DL Odom

A great tool for any size job, the Super Punch is preferred by home owners, gardeners, landscapers, and other professionals in vineyards, nurseries and gardens.

Adding a Flow Control Valve to a Drip Irrigation System

Posted on October 2nd, 2012 by Jeff Simser

Our Solution of the Week question comes from from Earl…

Every year, we have several rows in our vegetable garden that get harvested earlier then other rows. The problem is that these harvested rows still get watered by our drip irrigation system. Is there a way shutoff and control the water for each row?

Flow Control Valves:

Hello Earl, we absolutely have a solution for your situation. Irrigation Direct offers several types of flow control valves (aka, Shutoff Valves) for use with a drip irrigation system. Flow Control Valves are used to adjust or stop the flow of water through 1/4″, 1/2″ or 3/4″ solid tubing or 1/2″ soaker hose dripline (aka. drip emitter tubing). To use, simply turn the handle to the desired positions to control the flow of water.

You can install Flow Control Valves to isolate entire sections of your drip irrigation system or install them on a single drip line if desired. Each option gives you the flexibility to control the use of water more efficiently.

Installing a compression flow control valve is quick and easy. 

To begin, locate the area in the tubing you would like to install the flow control valve. Cut your drip tubing with a pair of tubing cutters or scissors. Be sure to make a straight cut across the pipe to ensure a tight fit. Insert your drip tubing into one end of the compression flow control valve and press inward, rocking the pipe and fitting back and forth. Use your thumb as a guide or score a mark on the tubing with your fingernail about 1 inch up from the end. Push until one inch of tubing is inserted into the fitting.

If you happen to be installing the flow control valves in cold weather, it helps to dip the tubing in warm water for a few minutes to soften the ends.

Compression fittings make a very tight seal and can be difficult to pull apart. If you need to reuse your fittings or detach your drip tubing, use our Direct-Loc Flow Control Valve

Direct-Loc fittings are perfect if you need to remove tubing for the winter.

Irrigation Direct offers Flow Control Valves in several sizes and we color code them for easy identification. Sizes are 620, 700,  710, and for 3/4″ drip tubing… the 940 series.

Green rings indicate 620 RainDrip tubing

Black rings indicate 700 drip tubing

Blue rings indicate 710 drip tubing

Gray indicates 940 or 3/4″ drip tubing

For quarter inch drip tubing, use our 250 series 1/4″ flow control valve.

Good luck! Let us know how this works for you. If you have an example of a creative solution to a drip irrigation problem, please share it. Include your questions too.

Benefits of adding a Fertilizer Injection System to Drip Irrigation

Posted on September 26th, 2012 by Jeff Simser

With the advent of Drip Irrigation, time that was normally spent dragging the garden hose and water cans around the yard was replaced by a more efficient system that could effectively deliver water right to the root zone of your plants. Gardeners were now able to use water more efficiently with less overall waste than ever before.

But even with drip irrigation, one constant still remained. For all its time saving and water efficiency, gardeners were still relegated to the manual application of granular or liquid fertilizers to their gardens. Of course as with all things, when there is a need, there are always those who will find a solution.

In the early attempts to bring a fertilizing solution to market, many of the products never delivered, either by over fertilizing, clogging or being too difficult to incorporate into a drip irrigation system. EZ-FLO fertilizer injection systems tackled these problems head on, creating fertilizer injection tanks that easily attached to a household water faucet, hose bibb, hydrant or any connection with ¾” male hose threads.

EZ-FLO fertilizer injection systems also utilize water soluble or liquid fertilizers which helped to eliminate clogging of the fertilizer tanks internal components. Unlike granular fertilizers that can include polymers and take much longer to dissolve, water soluble or liquid fertilizer dilute immediately when added to water.  This gives the EZ-FLO system an immediate fertilizer concentrate to deliver with a Drip Irrigation system.

The overall benefit of the EZ-FLO fertilizer system is the ability to (micro dose) the fertilizer concentrate over several days or weeks if desired. Each time you water, the EZ-FLO system will proportion small amounts (micro dose) of fertilizer in the irrigation water. The flow process evenly meters the fertilizer from start to finish. All EZ-FLO fertilizer units have an adjustable cap with four basic settings relating to the amount of fertilizer mixed with the water. This allows for more consistent control and release of fertilizer based on specific vegetation needs creating superior uptake of nutrients which create beautiful results.

This technique of applying products through the water is called “fertigation”.  Fertigation is a sustainable horticultural practice which has many environmental benefits, such as saving water and eliminating the pollution common with other methods of horticultural care. Nutrient absorption rates can be as high as 90% versus the traditional use of granular fertilizer that absorb at a lower level.

Whether adding an EZFLO fertilizer injection system for your flower pots, vegetable garden or your entire landscape, the benefits of adding an EZ-FLO Fertilizer Injection System to your Drip Irrigation will be easily seen in the vibrant colors and growth in your landscape.

For more detailed information on fertilizers, fertilizer systems and related products, visit our Drip Irrigation EZ-FLO Fertilizer Injection Systems section.


Follow Irrigation Direct on Facebook

Posted on November 1st, 2011 by Jeff Simser

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