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C38368

Installing irrigation... what the heck am I doing?!

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C38368

Ok, so I'm not that lost. Actually, I'll need to install irrigation for a... I dunno, Tiki-palm-oasis-thing that I want to plant, and I'm just wondering what kind I should put in? Living in Riverside, driplines under mulch (or at least shaded) are far more efficient, but actual sprinklers are more, you know... rainy. Do they even care? I'm currently thinking that I'll be trying to create a multi-story installation, if that makes any difference.

Thanks in advance! (Also, first post FTW!)

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Chris Chance

Honestly I would stick with drip only. If you overhead water palms they are much more likely to get bud rot. I use drip under the mulch but you could use subsurface if you want but more headache. During the hot summer I will go around with the hose and wet the mulch to create some evaporation.

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Allen

I have pretty good knowledge of drip systems you can pm me any questions.  I use basic drip systems from drip depot online.  

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Merlyn2220

If you are starting from scratch I'd set up a 4 or 6 zone system with hardlines buried to convenient locations.  You can feed the whole system from one pressure regulator, or run high pressure over to the hard points and use individual pressure regulators and 1/2" dripline from there.

I suggest the multiple zones because you may end up planting palms or other plants that want different amounts of water during the year.  For instance, heliconias hate water if they've frozen back for the year, the rhizomes will rot.  Others may grow all year in your location and want consistent water.  I made the mistake of running one big zone that feeds shrubs, palms and a variety of other stuff and groundcover, and had to re-do the lines when I realized this fact.

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MattyB

Go drip.  You don't need spray.  You can spray down with a hose a couple times in the summer just to wet everything down but for the most efficient water delivery you want drip.  Just lay the tubing on the surface and cover with mulch.  As long as you're using the proper filter, pressure regulators, and properly flush all your lines before initial operation you will not have any problems with clogged drippers.  My system has been installed for 10 years now, and due to the steep slope, lots of drippers are burried and/or engulfed in roots, and I've never had a single dripper clog or stop working.

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Chris Chance

I forgot to add that a filter/pressure regulator needs to be added or the line can explode or pop off emitters. I have different water needs on the same line but control the water flow with different rated emitters. I put adjustable for my bananas and most plants are one gallon an hour.  Usually I use several one gallon am hour emitters for my palms. The way my soil is it works perfectly but if you have great drainage then you want to use something more.

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C38368

Awesome, thanks all for the input! You've told me exactly what I wanted to hear, because I hate trenching.

For reference, our home is built on a large (acre-ish) lot that previously had a sloping back forty. Previous owners cut out part of the slope to make for a flat back yard, maybe 30' from the rearmost portion of the house, and put in a retaining wall, so the last, I dunno, 60' of the lot is original slope, which levels off at the top. They put in a building in the back that was intended to serve as an RV tender, but was never finished. I have 50A power to that building, and (supposedly) hookups to the septic tank. I'm going to finish it off and turn it into a brewery. The garage door opens up into a large (probably 50'x60') area of open ground that previously contained a playhouse.

I'm planning to put these trees and plants in that area, growing in toward the building and creating a sort of Tiki vibe, preferably with room on the ground for lounge chairs or shuffleboard or I don't know what, and enough shade to hang out there in the summer.

I think I like the idea of using differently-rated emitters, since I don't want this to be a super-manicured space. I'm thinking that I'll start with larger, sun-tolerant trees and plants, that can get established and then provide filtered light for other, potentially less-tolerant, lower-story plants and trees. Installation would have to be phased , I think. That being said... any good recommendations for taller, sun-tolerant and tropical-seeming (I'm looking at your Kentia palms) trees to start with? Annnnnd… what's this about banana plants in MoVal? They will actually survive in this general area?

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Jesse

I also agree with the drippers.  I would also highly suggest a main line fertigation system to keep everything fed well.

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Merlyn2220

They also have mini sprayers that work on drip systems.  I've had good luck with the Rainbird 180 degree adjustable spray heads on a stick.  That's a good way to hit a ~6 foot diameter area if you have some tropical ground cover, canna lillies, or something else that you don't want to run individual drippers to a large group of ground cover.

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C38368
1 hour ago, Jesse said:

main line fertigation system

What is this? Sounds like a combination irrigation/fertilization line, but how does it work?

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Chris Chance
2 hours ago, C38368 said:

Awesome, thanks all for the input! You've told me exactly what I wanted to hear, because I hate trenching.

For reference, our home is built on a large (acre-ish) lot that previously had a sloping back forty. Previous owners cut out part of the slope to make for a flat back yard, maybe 30' from the rearmost portion of the house, and put in a retaining wall, so the last, I dunno, 60' of the lot is original slope, which levels off at the top. They put in a building in the back that was intended to serve as an RV tender, but was never finished. I have 50A power to that building, and (supposedly) hookups to the septic tank. I'm going to finish it off and turn it into a brewery. The garage door opens up into a large (probably 50'x60') area of open ground that previously contained a playhouse.

I'm planning to put these trees and plants in that area, growing in toward the building and creating a sort of Tiki vibe, preferably with room on the ground for lounge chairs or shuffleboard or I don't know what, and enough shade to hang out there in the summer.

I think I like the idea of using differently-rated emitters, since I don't want this to be a super-manicured space. I'm thinking that I'll start with larger, sun-tolerant trees and plants, that can get established and then provide filtered light for other, potentially less-tolerant, lower-story plants and trees. Installation would have to be phased , I think. That being said... any good recommendations for taller, sun-tolerant and tropical-seeming (I'm looking at your Kentia palms) trees to start with? Annnnnd… what's this about banana plants in MoVal? They will actually survive in this general area?

I wouldn't grow Kentia this far inland out in the open.  They will burn for sure during the hot summer heat. That being said there's many palms that will grow fast and do great. I have bananas growing here in Moreno Valley but they do take a hit in the winter. The only ones I have at the moment are Rajapuri. If you don't get frost real bad you can probably grow kings in that area. Which part of Riverside are you in?

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Chris Chance
2 minutes ago, C38368 said:

What is this? Sounds like a combination irrigation/fertilization line, but how does it work?

Fertigation is great! You install a fertilizer injector so when you water it adds some water soluble fertilizer into the line. I use one for my greenhouse and plan on adding one to my drip eventually. 

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Jesse
4 minutes ago, C38368 said:

What is this? Sounds like a combination irrigation/fertilization line, but how does it work?

It is a combination.  A main line fertigation system is a system that injects liquid fertilizer(water soluble) into the main line that feeds your irrigation valves.  This allows low dose fertilizer to be applied every time you water, through every zone the main line pipe feeds. I believe there are a few brands and I'm not sure which one is the best but I have a 6000 sqft lot and I top off my 1 gallon fertilizer tank every month.  It's a lot easier than spreading fertilizer around my yard seasonally.

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Palm Tree Jim

Lots of great advice above. In my garden, I have both drip and above ground sprayers.

Drip is the way to go first. Easy to install, make changes and they have all kinds of drippers, sprayers and bubblers that will accommodate any type of garden.

If you can swing it, adding a fertigation system is also nice. I use EZ Flow.

Best of luck on the garden.

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Matt in OC

A lot of great advice in here. I'd also recommend checking out different drip vendors such as dripdepot.com. Big box store products are convenient, but not always the best solutions for palms. 

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C38368

Ok! Thank you all for the great advice and insight; I really appreciate it!

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