How to Maintain Your Drip Irrigation System
Drip irrigation is good for you and good for your plants. You can leave town for a few days, instead of staying home to hand water. Your plants can get a steady supply of water, in regular amounts, that will help them thrive. Drought followed by flood (when we neglect, then over-compensate) is hard on plants.
Do you need to add drip irrigation to all or part of your garden? We have an intro video about that, where Tricia shows how to set up a system. For the basics about the different kinds of drip irrigation, read our article that walks you through the options. You'll quickly see which are best for different parts of your garden. If you have drip irrigation you should check it in the spring, to make sure it's ready to run through the hot summer. In our video, Tricia does a tune-up of her drip irrigation system. Here's an easy annual drip checklist to follow:
- Flush your system.
- Flush your filter and clean out your screen (unless you have a self-cleaning filter).
- Turn on your system one part at a time and check to make sure the water is flowing.
- Are there are any clogged or damaged emitters, kinked tubing, or missing fittings?
- Soak any clogged emitters in vinegar.
- If emitters are either popping off or not spraying at all, use a pressure gauge to check your pressure regulator.
- Replace any damaged emitters.
- Clean your drip system by running Therm-X through your lines. Now take a look at the plants in your garden. Do they need more water or less water than last year?
- Add emitters to the dripline of trees that have grown in the last year, but do not remove the existing emitters.
- Reduce or remove emitters for drought-tolerant plants that have become established. Perennials of any kind usually take 3 years to settle in.
- The University of Arizona Extension has helpful advice on both these issues. You're all set! Enjoy another summer, and save water, with drip irrigation. For more information about drip irrigation, turn to the guy who makes it all clear, Robert Kourik. His book, Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape, will become one of your go-to garden assistants.