If you have read an article in a magazine or TV show about drip irrigation then check our Buying Guide section for assistance with finding the items discussed in it. Also feel free to browse our extensive range of drip irrigation products.
Drip irrigation is a very economical way to water, as water is applied direct to the roots of the plant and very little is lost to evaporation. Drippers may be covered with mulch or laid on top of the ground. For smaller plants one drip emitter is all that is required however large plants may require two or more to cover the root ball. It can be difficult to monitor the watering of plants when using drippers. The best method is to probe gently around the plant to check the moisture level in the soil. This should be done regularly as drip emitters can block up. All drip systems should be fitted with a filter, 120-200 “mesh” is recommended.
Plug in drippers
This type of dripper comes in many styles of both fixed and adjustable. The normal drip rate for fixed drippers is 2, 4 & 8 litres per hour while adjustable drippers can be set typically from 2 to 45 litres per hour. Pressure compensated (PC) drippers are used where slopes are involved and a precise drip rate is required. A typical PC dripper can handle 5 metres to 40 metres (48kPa to 386kPa) of pressure. Drippers may be plugged directly into Low density Poly Pipe (LDPE) or connected via 4mm (spaghetti) tube. Some drippers (Antelco middi and shrubbler) come mounted on a small stake, which makes it easier to check their operation.
In-Line Drip tube
This product, which is a poly pipe with drip emitters built in at regular spacings, has been available in the agricultural industry for many years. The vast array of pipe sizes, wall thicknesses, drip emitter spacing, the non-standard nature of the pipe fittings and the long (450 metre) roll sizes has meant that its use in domestic applications has been very limited. Recently new products designed for domestic applications have been released.
Netafim - a leader in this field has put together the following documents which provide a good introduction to their products and how to use them:
- Netafim Landscape Drip Irrigation Manual PDF 0.22MB
- Netafim Product Range PDF 0.95MB
Netafim Techline 16
Netafim’s “Techline 16” (Brochure PDF 1.34MB) is pressure compensated and uses standard 13mm poly fittings. It comes in three drip emitter spacings (30cm, 40cm and 50cm), two drip rates (1.6 and 2.3 litres per hour) and two roll sizes (50 & 200 metres). The pipe is a light brown in colour, which suits most garden applications. Techline may be buried, laid under mulch or on top of the ground. Automatic flush valves and an air relief valve should be fitted to all sub soil applications. In-line drip tube should be snaked around to get as close as possible to plants. Sub soil in-line drip for lawns should be laid at 30cm spacings and use a 30cm drip emitter spacing. Sub soil irrigation for lawns is a job best left to the experts as many factors such as soil type, slope compensation, application rates etc, need to be considered. Maximum single run 50 metres.
Special orders for other “Techline 16” specifications may be taken but a minimum quantity of 4 x 50 metre rolls will apply and delivery delays of 5-10 days before despatch may be expected.
Netafim Miniscape 8
Netafim’s “Miniscape 8” (Brochure PDF 2.69MB) is a 8mm drip line designed for domestic use. Drip emitter spacing is 15cm, 30cm and 50cm with a drip rate of 1.9 litres per hour. This light brown drip line is suitable for on ground or under mulch installation. 6mm fittings are required for this product. Maximum single run 16 metres.
In-Line Drip tube example
The following diagram illustrates all the possible items that you could require when using dripline for lawn irrigation.
The following table details some of the key items and their purpose.
|Pressure Regulators||Dripline operates at a set range of water pressures. In most domestic irrigation situations the water pressure out of the tap will be too high for the Dripline to operate properly. A Pressure Regulator reduces the pressure to the level the appropriate level for the dripline.|
|Filters||A 120 Mesh Filter prevents particles in the water from reaching and potentially blocking your dripline emitters. Trifluralin Impregnated Filter prevents roots from growing into and blocking the emitters in your dripline.|
|Backflow Prevention||Backflow prevention stops water that is sitting in your irrigation system from running back into your mains water supply. The Australian Standard requires a Backflow Prevention device be used with irrigation system, and as a result most Local Councils also requre it.
A RPZ Backflow Prevention Device (including valves and strainer) is a testable and high quality (and high cost) Backflow Prevention device. It is usually only required in commercial irrigation systems or in some Local Council areas when Trifluralin Impregnated Filters are used.
Water Weeping Hose
“Aquapore” is made from recycled tyres and is designed to weep water at approximately 2 litres per 15 metres per minute along its entire length. Water weeping hose is designed to run at low pressure (60-100kPa) and has a recommended maximum single run length of 30 metres. Up to 6 individual runs of 30 metres may be taken off a 13mm poly header pipe. A 200-mesh filter and a 70kPa pressure regulator are recommended for best operation. “Aquapore" is not recommended for use with muddy water. Note that there are at least 2 types of Aquapore - red and blue stripe. At Wetearth we sell the red stripe quality.
The 13mm weeping hose uses standard 13mm poly fittings with the exception of the clamps, which need to be 1mm bigger because of the thick walls of the hose. Weeping hose may be snaked around or laid in rows. It may be buried (5-15cm), covered with mulch or laid on top of the ground. Recommended spacings are based on soil types. Sand 30-45cm. Loam 45-60cm. Clay 60-90cm.
At the recommended operating pressure of 70kPa (10 psi) you will have a weekly application rate (based on equivalent rainfall) as follows:
|50min/week||6mm of water|
|100min/week||12mm of water|
|150min/week||18mm of water|
|200min/week||24mm of water|
To maintain the system it necessary to flush the weeping hose annually. Do this by removing any pressure regulators fitted and turn on the system for 1 minute and then off for 1 minute, repeat 3 times. Remove any end plugs and turn the system on for 5 minutes. Replace pressure regulator(s) and end plugs.
“Aquapore” is available in 100 metre boxes.
For more information on Aquapore we recommend reading the Aquapore System Design Guide PDF 1.23MB.