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Irrigation system layout for fruit trees

 
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Hi,
I am searching for ideas to design a drip irrigation system layout for fruit trees so that I use minimum piping over the years and
minimum labor (reconfiguration etc.), when the trees grow and the irrigation needs to be moved towards the drip line of the tree.
Is there some kind of standard way to doing this effectively?
 
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Can you post a layout of your site. Size, elevation, etc plays a huge part. When in doubt give too much info.

Lets say I had 20 rows of trees each with 10 trees.
I would give each row their own independent line.
I would then have each of 20 lines connecting connecting to a main line on the right.
I would then have another main line on the left to equalize the pressure.
I would put a switch at each end of every row so that I can independently work on each line.

 
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The local nursery owner recommended emitters ( I use flag emitters) directly punched into your mainline (I have 1/2” and 3/4” tubing). Attach 1/4” tubing to the emitter thus you can move the location of the water delivery as the tree grows. I have three emitters per tree. The length of the 1/4” tubing ranges from 8” to 30”. The flag emitters can swivel around. This does not follow the instructions that come with some emitters. This is what he uses at the nursery to water potted trees but with the barrel style emitter.
 
Antonio Scotti
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S Bengi wrote:Can you post a layout of your site. Size, elevation, etc plays a huge part. When in doubt give too much info.

Lets say I had 20 rows of trees each with 10 trees.
I would give each row their own independent line.
I would then have each of 20 lines connecting connecting to a main line on the right.
I would then have another main line on the left to equalize the pressure.
I would put a switch at each end of every row so that I can independently work on each line.


Hi, thanks for you reply.
Ok I wasn't actually concerned with the overall layout but rather with the connection between the main pipe in each line of trees and the tree itself, the actual bit of drip irrigation that irrigates the individual tree.
Sorry for not explaining any clearer.
Since the tree is going to increase in size over time the emitters will have to be moved further from the trunk. Also the dripline of the trees will be covered will mulch material, meaning that if this is persistent
enough every year or too not only I will have to move the emitters outwards but I'll have to move the mulch which is on top of the drip irrigation (or part of it) as well.
So the question is, how can I place the drip irrigation around each tree so that the amount of work of readjustment of the drip irrigation pipe is minimal, meaning: cutting pipes and reconnecting them in a wider pattern each time. For example one possibility would be to have 2 pipelines for each tree row, each at one side of the trunk of each tree. Whenever necessary these two pipelines would be moved away of the trunk to always be at the drip-line, but I would also need to add more emitters I guess with time. Also the main pipeline (in the tree row) would be without emitters and in correspondence of each tree a piece of
drip-irrigation-pipe would have to be connected....etc. I think this is not a very effective way, and I wonder if there is any better way of doing this.
Hope I made myself more clear.
Cheers
 
Antonio Scotti
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Garden Jennie wrote:The local nursery owner recommended emitters ( I use flag emitters) directly punched into your mainline (I have 1/2” and 3/4” tubing). Attach 1/4” tubing to the emitter thus you can move the location of the water delivery as the tree grows. I have three emitters per tree. The length of the 1/4” tubing ranges from 8” to 30”. The flag emitters can swivel around. This does not follow the instructions that come with some emitters. This is what he uses at the nursery to water potted trees but with the barrel style emitter.



So are you saying that for each tree row, you have one blind pipepline and in correspondence of the tree location you punch 3 1/4" tubing with an attached flag emitter at the end, and that's it?
And what about when the tree canopy becomes 16' wide? Would you continue using the same system, only with longer tubings + flag emitters and more of them?
Thanks
 
S Bengi
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Add a new ring every 2 years

 
S Bengi
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Stakes might be easier to move.

 
J Resendez
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My mainline is 3/4” black poly drip tubing. My “mainline” starts at a frost free faucet and  follows the trees down the row.  The emitter is directly on the mainline with the 1/4” tubing connected to the flag emitter. The 1/4” tube is open at the end watering the root zone held with a stake or soil staple. As the tree gets bigger i will move the end of the tube further out. I could also add a fourth emitter. I am only expecting this drip system to last 10-14 years — the poly only lasts so long. I have 20 fruit trees less than 3 years old planted in two curved rows.
 
J Resendez
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Antonio Scotti wrote:

Garden Jennie wrote:The local nursery owner recommended emitters ( I use flag emitters) directly punched into your mainline (I have 1/2” and 3/4” tubing). Attach 1/4” tubing to the emitter thus you can move the location of the water delivery as the tree grows. I have three emitters per tree. The length of the 1/4” tubing ranges from 8” to 30”. The flag emitters can swivel around. This does not follow the instructions that come with some emitters. This is what he uses at the nursery to water potted trees but with the barrel style emitter.



So are you saying that for each tree row, you have one blind pipepline and in correspondence of the tree location you punch 3 1/4" tubing with an attached flag emitter at the end, and that's it?
And what about when the tree canopy becomes 16' wide? Would you continue using the same system, only with longer tubings + flag emitters and more of them?
Thanks



My mainline is 3/4” black poly drip tubing. My “mainline” starts at a frost free faucet and  follows the trees down the row.  The emitter is directly on the mainline with the 1/4” tubing connected to the flag emitter. The 1/4” tube is open at the end watering the root zone held with a stake or soil staple. As the tree gets bigger i will move the end of the tube further out. I could also add a fourth emitter. I am only expecting this drip system to last 10-14 years — the poly only lasts so long. I have 20 fruit trees less 3 years old planted on two curved rows.
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Antonio,

I have had a lot of luck with DripWorks products.  The way they show (and I basically used) was to run a main feeder line along a row of trees.  At each tree, make a little “T” and attach a piece of emitter tubing, which is basically mainline tubing that already has emitters installed, and wrap the tubing around the drip zone of the tree.  The “T” tubing is typically about 5-10 feet long, but can be changed easily as your tree grows (if you need to change it at all, a lot of orchards just lay them down and forget about them).  Personally I would use the lowest flow necessary—.5 gallons/hour.  

This section of tubing can easily be covered by mulch, and if the mulch is removed, re-placed accordingly.

Eric
 
Antonio Scotti
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Eric Hanson wrote:Antonio,
a lot of orchards just lay them down and forget about them).
Eric


Thanks  Eric, I like this system
so in a way you are saying that many folks just set up the irrigation system when the tree is small. around the tree trunk, and never actually enlarge it as the tree grows....Interesting
but this is not what I  have learned, the important part of the tree that needs irrigation, mulch and compost is from the tree drip-line outwards, many PC text books and teachers always stress that.

Personally I would use the lowest flow necessary—.5 gallons/hour.    


Why?
 
Eric Hanson
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Antonio,

Actually what I meant was that with the 5’ section coming out of the “T” being loose, it could be adjusted as the tree grows without any real effort.  I kinda figured that it could be moved about once per year and covered with mulch to conserve all the water you put down.

Also, if 5’ is too short, these drip line setups are incredibly easy to expand.  You could easily add another 3-5’ or whatever length you want with very little effort.  What ever the length is I would try to keep it at about the drip line of the tree.

Eric
 
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All I do is add emitters as the tree grows, along the one main hose going between them.  So a baby tree will have one, and now many that are over my head have three.  I don't move the first one, just add more.  The tree will need more water as it grows larger.
 
Eric Hanson
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Antonio,

You asked why I like to use the lowest flow emitters (which for me has always been 1/2 ga/hr).  The reason is simple—I try to conserve water as much as possible.  I think if one has clay or loam soils a low flow is perfectly adequate.  Higher and one risks the water simply soaking the soil and rolling off.  With low flowing emitters, if I need more water I simply let the line run longer.

If I had sandy soil I might think differently as sandy soils dry out so quickly, but my clay really holds on to the water.

Just my thoughts,

Eric
 
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