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Old 06-09-2019, 04:44 PM
141 posts, read 138,395 times
Reputation: 99


Hi guys,

I am working on installing a drip irrigation system in my yard. I've so far I've run into a few questions. They seem basic, but I'd like to verify.

I'm setting up 4 zones total as follows: I am in Arizona and generally front yard is desertscape. Minimal overall "greenery".
Zone 1 = Front Yard - mixed scrubs.
Zone 2 = Back Yard; mixed scrubs, some honeysuckles.
Zone 3 = Back Yard; set aside for future grass
Zone 4 = Back Yard; Citrus


1) Pressure regulators -- I measured my water output and getting 60psi. Which zones should be installing a pressure regulator on? And whats recommended? I see a range of 20-30psi...

2) I'm a little overwhelmed at the different type of emitters. So many styles. Can I really go wrong with anything? I believe I am going to stay with the 1gph emitters as it seems that is sort of a nice middle ground.

3) Is there a resource somewhere that will help me target total water gallons per plant per week? I dont know how to make sure I am not overwatering.

4) Is my zoning look OK based on AZ Desertscape? Tried to seperate the watering "categories" and figure the mixed scrub zones could accommodate just anything small and generic.

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Old 06-09-2019, 04:55 PM
Location: LI,NY zone 7a
2,221 posts, read 1,521,792 times
Reputation: 2721
I can answer the first question. The pressure regulator should be first inline. Meaning it regulates all zones when using emitters.

As far as the rest of your questions, I would talk to a reliable garden center in your area for proper GPH for your various plants. Too many variables as far as sun, shade, and the type plants that you listed.
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Old 06-09-2019, 05:30 PM
11,160 posts, read 15,341,867 times
Reputation: 16880
1. Use 20 pounds after the irrigation valve for drip lines and 30 for small sprinklers.

2. Emitters come sin GPH so you match the gallons per hour needed for the plants being watered. Some emitters are designed to regulate at the main tube with a smaller line to the plantings while others go at the plantings. To avoid issues with having to dig up lines when an emitter clogs of breaks, put them at the end of the line by the plant or somewhere with easy access if feeding multiple lines. Small manifolds can come in handy if watering groups of plants off a single line.

Don't try to do one size fits all as the water time for a line will be what you set so if one plant needs 1 gallon an hour and another 1/2 gallon and a third 2 gallons, a 1 gallon only emitter will over and under water some of the plants. Emitters are cheap, use what works for the plant needs.

3. Bucket at the emitter. If you use a 1/2 gph, you should have 1/2 gallons at the hour mark, or 1/4 gallon at the 1/2 hour mark...etc.. No reals shortcuts, just time it out at the start.

4. Various plants need varying amount of water. You have to play with the gph and time to make sure each individual plant gets the needed amount of water for their specific needs. Also remember, a newly planted desert plant will need different water compared to an established desert plant. This is why they have such a variety of emitters. You balance the amount of water needed so the one with the most needs get the most water to it while the one with the lowest needs are on a smaller emitter. This way the time/gph balance works for the needs of the plants.

Like i said, there is no shortcuts to doing it best for the plants. Good news once you get it all worked out, there's really nothing to it going forwards but adjusting time as the seasonal needs change.
(as an fyi, I personally would never recommend those fancy smart irrigation controllers for desert landscape as they kill half the plants every year. We all had them when the homes were built and I don't think anyone in the entire community still uses theirs on the "smart" mode.)
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Old 06-09-2019, 05:39 PM
1,750 posts, read 1,289,480 times
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Check valve, filter, pressure reducer.
Attached Thumbnails
Drip irrigation system basics help-figure3.jpg  
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Old 06-09-2019, 05:58 PM
141 posts, read 138,395 times
Reputation: 99
Got it - so I'll get some 20psi regulators for zones 1, 2 and 4 and a 30psi regulator for the grass.

When you say the irrigation controllers "smart" settings kill the plants, is that due to overwatering?
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:41 PM
Status: "Not MY government" (set 13 days ago)
Location: Hiding from dumb people
12,655 posts, read 14,251,448 times
Reputation: 9114
Don't mix your plantings too much.
Pick and group stuff with similar watering needs.
Don't plant hydrangea next to lavender for example.
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Old 06-13-2019, 12:15 AM
11,160 posts, read 15,341,867 times
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Originally Posted by ps2cho View Post
When you say the irrigation controllers "smart" settings kill the plants, is that due to overwatering?
Smart Irrigation Controllers do not know the specific condition of all the various plants that may be on a zone. It only knows the generic conditions you programmed for the zone such as soil type, drainage, maturity of the plants, general category of plants, soil heat index, etc. But it will be guessing the watering needs of a zone based on data, inputs and senors. It will uses all the information to decide if it waters the zone today, how long and how many times. That scheduled is recalculated every single day based on current weather information. When you have mixed plant types, an assumption of the water needed may not hold true for all the plants. This often results in over or under watering causing plants to die. Also consider the Smart Controller is assuming every plant on that zone is using the exacts same gph emitter. If your using different gph emitters on the same zone, the Controller won't know. Because the scheduled changes all the time, you may have no idea plants are getting less water than needed or there's too much water. You can look and monitor the plants all the time and manually adjust the controller, but that rather defeats the purpose of a Smart Irrigation Controller.

Typically what ends up happening is people turn off the smart feature and just use the old fashion timer setting. This primarily is an issue when dealing with plants in extreme weather conditions where two plants from a similar family may have completely opposite watering needs.
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