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Master Gardener Journal  


Irrigation Time Bombs

by Mike Mekelburg, Master Gardener

Irrigation systems, like most things, are only as good as the effort you put into them. The following is a short list of the common problems found in do-it-yourself installations.

Not using a pressure regulator to limit water pressure in the line to 20 psi. This can cause drip emitters to come apart or pop off poly lines, and can cause the lines themselves to come apart at connections.

Putting drip emitters at the ends of 1/4-inch "spaghetti" lines where rabbits can chew the small tubing and create geysers.

Putting the main poly line above ground in unfenced areas where all manner of wildlife can feast and create huge leaks.

Using "flag" drippers that eventually wiggle apart and make geysers even with the proper use of pressure regulators.

Running 5/8-inch poly line farther than 500 feet and having more than 250 gallons per hour output, which will deliver progressively less water to emitters toward the end of the line.

Using a mix of high- and low-output devices, such as mushroom bubblers and 2-gallon-per-hour drippers on the same line, which can only overwater some plants or shallow water others.

Using cheap parts-such as timers-to water thousands of dollars worth of landscape material.

Slapping an irrigation system together and leaving for the summer.




Maricopa County Master Gardener Volunteer Information
Last Updated December 18, 2003, 2003
Author: Lucy K. Bradley, Extension Agent Urban Horticulture, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County
© 1997 The University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cooperative Extension in Maricopa County
Comments to Maricopa-hort@ag.arizona.edu 4341 E. Broadway Road, Phoenix, AZ 85040,
Voice: (602) 470-8086 ext. 301, Fax (602) 470-8092