Most-common in-line drip issues
Spring is in the air, your garden is planted with fresh transplants and seeds, and the rain has mostly stopped. Next is to turn on the irrigation … and nothing happens. Well, maybe something happens but not what you expected. Because most of us have in-line drip systems in our gardens, or if you don’t you should, let’s review a few common problems and solutions for getting water to all of your plants.
No pressure in my irrigation
Most of the time low pressure is caused by leaks. Often, people will go directly to the valves or the source of the water to figure out why the water is not flowing properly. Experience says that 9 out of 10 times a low-pressure issue is caused by a disconnection or break in a line or by clogged or dirty lines.
So, start at your water source and trace your line looking for any loose or broken connections, cracks in the line itself, or mineral deposits in the emitters.
Sometimes, especially if you have an extensive irrigation system, you can run your irrigation for an extended period of time and look for pooling or running water where it doesn’t belong. If you discover no disconnections or breaks, check if the valves are functioning properly.
Irrigation coverage issues
Quite possibly the most common problem with irrigation is a lack of coverage. It is vitally important that your plants receive an appropriate amount of water regularly, particularly with in-line drip irrigation.
Many gardens suffer from dry spots between well-watered spots. This is usually an issue with spacing. Be sure that the emitters produce a diamond pattern when you put them in the soil. Be sure that each emitter is no farther than 12 inches away from the next closest emitter. This allows for maximum coverage and the most efficient use of space.
Managing my irrigation timing
Running water for long enough can often be a problem, especially in Southern California. Water is a precious, limited resource, which makes it very expensive in this part of the country. We, for good reason, are tempted to turn our water down to the minimum to conserve water and our bank accounts.
With in-line drip systems, this can lead to dry spots by not allowing water to soak through the soil down to the roots of the plants. In-line drip should run for long periods of time creating a soaking effect, which enables you to run your system less often per week. If you notice dry spots between emitters and it seems that your system is laid out correctly, you may just need to run your system a bit longer. Usually, 20 to 30 minutes is the minimum time for an in-line drip system.
Where can I learn more about proper irrigation?
You can reach out to us with any irrigation questions. You can always check the web page of your system’s manufacturer. There is often an FAQ section related to your irrigation product. But, I find that an experienced technician, who is able to look at your garden is always going to give you the best advice. Happy gardening!