Technical Information and Recommendations
Recommendations for above ground installation of all sizes of drip line
A) The most advanced installation innovations for ½, ¾ and 7/8 inch drip line involves:
i. Planting the trees extra deep..the full root plus two inches of lower stem underground
ii. Heel each tree one good 45 degree angle heel kick 3 inches back from each tree
iii. Use spade to remove a shovelful of earth 12 inches back from the tree and 4–5 inch depth
iv. Lay the plastic mulch film: We recommend 3.2 mil which you can walk on and which wildlife cannot easily damage.
v. Lay a 5 lb stone on top the plastic film pushing the plastic mulch film down into the water well you created with the spade at each tree. This creates a water well funnel.
vi. Prick a hole in the plastic beside each stone near the bottom of the funnel.
vii. Each funnel near each tree provides about 2 gallons of water from even a ¼ inch of rainfall. The funnels also draw the water down the plastic from the emitter points in drip line.
viii. Lay the drip line with a small weave by alternating from one side of first tree to opposite side the next tree etc…this compensates for line contraction and expansion in the sun.
ix. If possible water trees coming from surface water reservoirs rather than well water which tend to contain high levels of salts and minerals that can be harmful to plants.
x. You can tie into your house water system if the water is fairly mineral free.
xi. Alternatively you can use a gas trash pump (banjo) from your dugout to the tree line using a 1 ¼ inch over land water line or dugout to a portable water tank with its own pump to your tree line. Ensure you use a good dugout strainer such as a sand point needle filter or if using a screen filter wrap a replaceable cheese cloth bag around it to provide extra filtration.
xii. At the tree line install our ¾ inch disk filter at the head of the tree line watering. We suggest you install a ¾ inch quick coupler for quick hook up and detaching as required. Alternatively you can purchase our yellow valve with garden hose fitting to hook onto the disk filter.
xiii. Urgently important to keep the water super clean that goes into the irrigation system.
xiv. Install a valve at the end of each tree line and at the filter.
xv. When first testing your irrigation system open one line valve at the end of a tree line at a time waiting several minutes for the air to get pushed out and water to flow evening. This is also important to flush out any particles in the line so that emitters don’t get plugged.
xvi. Decommissioning for winter: By about September 10 you should decommission your drip system for the winter before any nighttime freezing temperatures. Open the valves at the end of the tree lines and use an air compressor with special attachment (available to purchase from HELP) to blow out the lines. After blowing out the water from the lines, close the valves at end of the drip lines and at the filter so air born soil and spring runoff dirty water does not enter the irrigation lines.
Note: HELP International Shelterbelt Program is marketing only the ½ inch and the 7/8 inch drip line systems. We do not carry the ¾ inch. In our commitment to provide the lowest cost trees, plastic mulch film and irrigation supplies in Canada we have priced both our ½ and 7/8 inch drip irrigation line and fittings at 20 to 25 % lower than our competitor pricing index which we monitor regularly.
B) Recommendations Specific to Half inch (1/2’’) Drip Line with Pre-installed internal Emitters
1) Our half inch drip line has pre-installed internal 1 L/Hr emitters averaging 95 cm spacing.
2) This system works especially well on top of pre-installed plastic mulch film with waterwell funnels (see section A)
3) Highly recommended customers use a 7/8’’ manifold line and 7/8’’ to ½’’ reducing couplers to feed the half inch drip line on each tree row.
4) The maximum distance you should push water down a half inch drip line is 300 to 350 m per tree line. If your tree lines are longer than 350 m then create two manifolds i.e.: each installed in the same location but going in opposite directions covering half the length of the tree lines.
5) Purchase 5% more irrigation line than the length of tree lines. This is for the 5% weave to accommodate hot and cold weather contraction and expansion of the drip line.
6) Purchase two or three couplers for splicing line and a few to keep on hand for cutting out any emitter that is not functioning properly i.e.: cut out any emitter that is spraying water and simply install a coupler in the location of your cut.
7) The highest water head pressure you should utilize down a ½ inch drip line system is 45 PSI.
8) The ½ inch line is very fragile compared to our 7/8 inch line. The ½ inch line kinks extremely easily. You can un-kink and press the crease out very easily. If the ½ inch line gets badly twisted such that the kink won’t come out then simply cut the line at that point and install a $2.50 coupler.
9) See table top model of 1/2 inch drip system installation showing what fittings go where.
C) Recommendations Specific to 7/8’’ Punch and Pop-In Emitter’ Irrigation
1) 7/8 inch ‘punch and pop-in emitter drip line’ handles 20% more water volume and sustained pressure than ¾ inch so can serves greater distances than ¾ inch line and vastly more distances than ½ inch drip line and can water many tree rows simultaneously. The 7/8 inch drip line can typically water up to four tree lines simultaneously and easily for a range of up to 800 m on reasonably flat land. If rolling terrain on larger sites you might consider creating two manifolds, each watering the half the tree lines in opposite direction. If you wish to control the water flow to one or more lines then please install one valve at the beginning of each tree line.
2) Punching the lines: To punch the line for an emitter, hold the line in one hand, pinching line between thumb and four fingers with the narrow back of the pipe pointing upward. Holding the pipe against the ground with your left hand, push punch into the line with your right hand (assuming you are right handed)
3) To install emitters push the colored barb which is the larger barb, into the pre-punched hole in line. The emitter is often not seated well unless you hear a ‘’snap’’. If you don’t hear a snap then push the emitter again while turning it a couple times around to ensure it is seated well. In the rare case an emitter does not enter properly the emitter may be blown out when charging up your system and water will be seen spraying three meters high out of the emitter hole where the emitter was blown out. Simply push a replacement emitter into the hole. In the very rare event that you wreck a hole (which may never occur) you can cut the line and install a simply $3 union so that there is no leak. Buy a handful of extra emitters in case one or more blow out and you don’t find them.
4) NEVER pull out an emitter that has been properly installed or your will create a hole in the pipe that cannot be re-used for an emitter. If you accidentally do this then cut the line and install a simple coupling.
5) See table top model of 7/8 inch drip system installation showing what fittings go where.