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Thread: Depth of poly? Depth of drip line?

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member ToolsRMe's Avatar
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    Default Depth of poly? Depth of drip line?

    Does it make sense to trench as little as 2 inches for irrigation line? What's the recommended depth? Is there a maximum depth for poly and/or drip?

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    DIY Senior Member Mr_Pike's Avatar
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    No, but I have seen it.

    Most of the time, we lay drip on top of the soil, under the mulch.

    A lot of times, in new construction, the irrigation goes in after rough grade, then the sod crew comes in and does final grading and lays sod. Final grading can mean "we need 4" of dirt, just scrape it off of anywhere. " I have seen lines basically laid just below the sod, and acting like drip hose, becasue someone got a little too rambunctious with the skid steer.

    Drip would be mostly wasted under 4 " for most plants I would think. Roots being up higher than that.

    I wouldn't go much more than 14" on poly, or you will start having trouble with risers being tall enough to set your heads correctly.

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    DIY Senior Member ToolsRMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Pike
    Most of the time, we lay drip on top of the soil, under the mulch.
    Thanks for the answer.

    Perhaps I'm not using the correct terminology.

    The drip line (drip hose?) I'm taking about is the black plastic stuff you poke holes into and then put a flow button and then the 1/4" drip stuff into.

    What are the right names for these things and where should they go?

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    DIY Senior Member Mr_Pike's Avatar
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    Honest answer is I don't know, because we never install that type of drip irrigation.

    What we install is a product called Netafim. It is a brown hose/pipe product that has emitters built into it every 12" or 18". Kick the mulch up a little around any trees in a walmart parking lot, and you will see what I am talking about. This stuff is just weaved back and forth in the bed and held down with sod staples. The mulch is then placed over the top. If you need an area with more water, you weave the rows tighter, less water, farther apart.

    I usually throw a loop around the base of trees. You would install this with a filter and pressure regulator after the valve. You can install about 300 feet in any linear run, with about 1400 total feet per 1" zone.

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    DIY Member Kiril's Avatar
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    What are the right names for these things and where should they go?
    Poly pipe and personally I prefer to put it on the surface and mulch over it. This way if you need to swap or add sprinkers/drippers the pipe is right there and you don't have to dig for it. Additionally it reduces the likelyhood of putting a shovel through it when digging in your beds.

    Drip would be mostly wasted under 4 " for most plants I would think. Roots being up higher than that.
    This is not true. For turf and annuals I would expect the effective rooting depth to be 6-12" depending on the species, for everything else effective rooting depths can easily extend to 24" and beyond.

    Thing to remember here is effective rooting depth is specific to the plant and site conditions. Your irrigation zoning and scheduling should accomodate these.

  6. #6

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    If it were me, I wouldn't go crazy making yr drip line too deep. Putting it just under the mulch makes it easy to dig up/re-route/add emitters to. It'll be plenty effective at that depth. Dripping under the mulch will prevent evaporation and absorbption by the mulch, so water will effectively get to the root zone.

    For the spray/rotor irrigation line, I'd run (or have your contractor) run to a depth of 10-12". Any shallower, you risk cutting into it during minor landscape modifications. Any deeper, they become tricky to find for irrigation mods. Regardless, definitely make a to-scale map of yr lines. If yr planning a patio, try to route yr main and branch lines around that area or at least plant them a little deeper - like 14-16".
    (important note: I'm not a pro)

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