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Thread: Best Irrigation System for Beds (Trees/Shrubs/Perennials)

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member pmsmith2032's Avatar
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    Default Best Irrigation System for Beds (Trees/Shrubs/Perennials)

    I am trying to plan a watering system for new beds I created last spring and am contemplating a number of different options. The beds have already been planted with small trees and shrubs (river birch, viburnum, dogwood, firs, junipers, hydrangeas, oaks, maples, redbuds etc) and I will be adding perennials this spring to fill in. The beds are rather large (see pictures below) and will be evolving over the next few years. I am wondering what irrigation method is best to keep them healthy. My options are:

    1. Drip system (buried under mulch)using emitters placed in the root zone of each plant. This is the most efficient method and I like the fact that it reduces the likelihood of disease. However, I've read that emitters clog easily, and it's not easy to detect issues.

    2. Drip system using microsprays/misters. This system isn't quite as efficent in water use and could cause more disease issues. However, since the microsprayers/misters are above ground, clogging issues are easier to detect. Issues with leaks at connections on the drip tubing could still be an issue,.

    3. Regular sprinkler system (PVC piped) using spray heads. This system uses the most water and could create more disease issues. However, issues are easy to see and such a system seems less susceptible to leaking issues.

    So, based upon my situation, and if money spent on installation wasn't an issue, which system would work best for me? Thanks in advance!

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  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    In many places, there are irrigation supply companies that will take your scale drawing and details about your water source and etc. and will design your system at no charge...providing you buy all of your supplies from them. An irrigation system requires more than just laying PVC pipe and hooking up sprinklers. Even if you had to pay a fee for the design, it would be well worth it. Once you get the plan, installation can be a DIY job.

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    DIY Junior Member pmsmith2032's Avatar
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    Thanks Gary. I actually had Rain Bird do a design but they just specified the drip tubing with holes every so many inches in their design. Not sure if that is the best option though.

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Maybe a second opinion would be wise. Thing is at least in my opinion, you are looking at something that will not only water your yard, but that will last for many years. (Mine is starting its 29th season) You want it to be economical to operate, easy to repair when necessary, and that will meet local and federal requirements. A drip system might very well be the best route to go, but perhaps a combination of sprinklers would be in order. Rain Bird is a respected name in irrigation, but they are not the only ones to consider. Hunter and Toro come to mind although I doubt if they would be vastly different in their recommendations. I think you have a pretty good start with your drawings and photos.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    They make PVC tubes with a pointed end that you drive into the ground around the trees, then place a drip tube into them so the water reaches the roots.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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