The homemade drip system met its end when I forgot to raise the blades on the lawnmower, and shredded the garden hose. Disappointed, but not discouraged, I knew what I had to do. It was time to bit the bullet and install a real irrigation system. I went back and forth as to whether to used a sprinkler or a drip-type system, and after evaluating all the options I decided to opt for the sprinklers:
- I felt sprinklers would do a better job watering a large area under the tree.
- I wouldn't have to worry about mowing over the water lines or emitters.
- I would have to worry about drip emitters getting clogged or plugged.
- I could quickly see if there was a problem, and where it was.
- I wouldn't have to run the water for several hours at a time.
The only place I didn't bury PVC was along the west side of the house and in the front yard. This side of the house is full of other buried utilities like the electrical and gas connections, and the front yard is full of huge thick roots from the large pine tree in front of the house. To get around these obstacles, I decided to try some DIG micro-sprinklers. I ran a plastic 1/2 supply line above ground along the west side of the house, and buried the line just below the sod in the front yard. The sprinklers connect to the main line via 1/4-inch line. Setting it all up an connecting it was very quick and easy, and for a minute I wished I had used the micro-sprinklers everywhere instead of working so hard to bury all that PVC.
Then I turned it on.
When I turned on the micro-sprinklers, they worked, but the water pressure was too high for the little sprinkler heads. Instead of coming out as a nice spray, the water jetted out as a mist. I watched as small gusts of wind caught the mist and carried it away from the trees I was trying to water. My kids had a great time running around in the spritz, but the sprinklers weren't effective for irrigation. I turned the water completely off, and then opened up the valve a quarter turn. At this lower pressure the sprinklers worked much better, but being smaller they don't put out nearly as much water as the other sprinklers. I'm not thrilled with them, but I'm so disappointed that I'm planning to dig them out either. I'll just have to run the micro-sprinklers for a longer period of time to deliver the needed volume of water.
Live and learn I guess. Still, I'm very happy to have almost all of my irrigation installed and semi-automated before the summer. I love being able to turn a dial and just let the sprinklers do the work. I'm finding that since I'm not having to spend all weekend moving water hoses around, I have more time for other projects. I really should have done this sooner.