Drip Irrigation in Public Landscapes

In public landscapes, commercial/industrial parks, high traffic zones and/or places where vandalism is prevalent, in order to achieve long-term success, it is imperative that the appropriate irrigation products are selected, and that they are installed in the correct manner.

One of the more common ways to keep low-volume systems problem free in public areas is to keep the irrigation equipment out of sight. The simplest way to accomplish this is to install as many components as possible below grade. This normally means using PVC pipe (rather than polyethylene tubing) for the lateral lines, and multi- outlet drip heads, installed below grade, for the emission devices. These drip heads are typically connected to the PVC pipe by ½” nipples (or swing assemblies), similar to those on conventional pop-up sprinkler heads. ¼” distribution tubing is then run, sub surface, from the drip heads out to the plant material, where it terminates at the drip line of the tree or shrub. At this point the tubing can be connected to ¼” dripline which if installed below grade, keeps all tubing concealed..

Most of the multi-outlet drip heads manufactured today are self flushing, and pressure compensating, which means they require little maintenance, and can be installed on long laterals while still providing excellent uniformity, even if the terrain is not level. Often these drip heads are installed inside a small (6“-8”) emitter box, but they can also be directly buried if total concealment is necessary. They are now available in a variety flow rates, so that the water application rate can be tailored to suit the soil type present at different sites. Although most of these drip heads contain some type of internal filter, it is still necessary to install a pressure regulator and disc or screen “Y” filter downstream of the control valve to ensure long term reliability.

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