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HonkyTonk

Watering 101

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HonkyTonk

New here, sorry if this is a well-covered post.

I am starting a new subtropical garden from scratch. It is only a small site so small garden. My focus is on a very well presented and highly manicured. 

My knowledge regarding watering is to water deep and allow the soil to dry before the next watering. Would you agree with this and what would be the best way to determine if the soil is wet enough during the watering and dry enough prior to the next watering event? 

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The Steve

That will largely be determined by the palms you select, their sun exposure, your climate, and your soil - but not knowing more, I think most would agree that would be a good rule of thumb.  Some tropical plants may not like that, though.  I know that there are moisture gauges that some use, but I’ve never tried, myself.   Can you tell us a little more?

Edited by The Steve

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HonkyTonk

Thanks for replying The Steve. Please find the following information to give you a better idea of my situation.

Zone 10b/11a

Site is in full sun

Soil is 500mm (20") thick well-draining mix of compost, bark fines and pumice.

Main planting will be kentia, dypsis and chamaedorea (at this stage)

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Mangosteen

Young Kentia can burn in full sun, in fact all your choices might have a tough time in full sun especially if you are starting with smaller sizes. Shade cloth might be one answer.

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The Gerg
1 hour ago, HonkyTonk said:

New here, sorry if this is a well-covered post.

I am starting a new subtropical garden from scratch. It is only a small site so small garden. My focus is on a very well presented and highly manicured. 

My knowledge regarding watering is to water deep and allow the soil to dry before the next watering. Would you agree with this and what would be the best way to determine if the soil is wet enough during the watering and dry enough prior to the next watering event

Use a drip system. I’ve heard various watering routines on here. For me, I water three times a week for 7 minutes each time. In hot summer months I sometimes water extra.

Before I had a drip system I used to hand water and I ended up killing more palms than I want to admit. I wasn’t sure if I was over watering or under watering. So just make sure you use a drip system and find the right routine for you and forget about it.

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HonkyTonk
1 minute ago, The Gerg said:

Use a drip system. I’ve heard various watering routines on here. For me, I water three times a week for 7 minutes each time. In hot summer months I sometimes water extra.

Before I had a drip system I used to hand water and I ended up killing more palms than I want to admit. I wasn’t sure if I was over watering or under watering. So just make sure you use a drip system and find the right routine for you and forget about it.

Hi,

I am using a drip irrigation system 

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Darold Petty
1 hour ago, The Gerg said:

Use a drip system. I’ve heard various watering routines on here. For me, I water three times a week for 7 minutes each time. In hot summer months I sometimes water extra.

Before I had a drip system I used to hand water and I ended up killing more palms than I want to admit. I wasn’t sure if I was over watering or under watering. So just make sure you use a drip system and find the right routine for you and forget about it.

Gerg;   Can you elaborate the drip rate please ?  I need to change over to drip this winter.  What is the gph rate of your emitters and how widely spaced are they ?  It would be great if you could calculate the volume of water delivered per surface area unit. 

  I would like to design my system to deliver about 1 inch of water per week uniformly over the whole surface area.

Thanks for any advice !

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The Gerg
33 minutes ago, Darold Petty said:

Gerg;   Can you elaborate the drip rate please ?  I need to change over to drip this winter.  What is the gph rate of your emitters and how widely spaced are they ?  It would be great if you could calculate the volume of water delivered per surface area unit. 

  I would like to design my system to deliver about 1 inch of water uniformly over the whole surface area per week.

Thanks for any advice !

Darold, I can not remember the gph right now off the top of my head....but I do not use emitter “sprinklers” (if you will). I use 1/4” emitter “tubing”. I wrap that around the base of each of my palms (and cycads) so the water gets distributed full circle instead of sticking an emitter just on one side of the tree. I believe each little hole in the emitter tubing provides 1 gph (maybe 2) and the holes are about 8” apart or so. 

So if some trees want more water I wrap it around a couple of times. If others want less I only wrap it once and maybe a little further away from the base. When you make your move to the drip system I’m sure there are others on here who can give you more solid advice than I can.

Sounds like you are looking to water an entire planter bed where I’m just watering individual trees.

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Merlyn2220

I set my drip system up with 1/2" solid tubing, and then put individual drippers on each palm using a button emitter and 1/4" tubing to put the water at a reasonable distance from the trunk.  Being in FL it's mostly a "supplemental" system, since summer 2-3pm thunderstorms usually give plenty of water.  My rule of thumb is:

  • Very small palms or seedling sized: one 0.5gph dripper for 30 minutes = 0.25 gallons per palm
  • Medium palms like a 3-6' tall: two 0.5gph or two 1gph for 30 minutes = 0.5 to 1.0 gallons per palm
  • Big palms over 6': two 1gph, four 1gph or two 2gph for 30 minutes = 1.0 to 2.0 gallons per palm
  • Bananas or bamboo: one or two 2gph for 30 minutes = 1.0 to 2.0 gallons per cluster, depending on size

I adjust this up or down depending on the soil and the species.  So a trunking Butia in a very sandy area gets two 1gph for 30 minutes, while a cluster of three Majesties gets 4x 2gph drippers because they require lots of water to stay looking nice.  On the really dry side a pretty big clustering Med. fan gets only 1x 1gph dripper.  I haven't had any issues with plugged emitters or tubing, as long as I remember to purge the 1/2" line after laying it in place, and before putting in any emitters.

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Darold Petty

Merlyn2220;  Thanks, this is helpful.  Is this schedule of irrigation based on a  once-per-week cycle ?

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Merlyn2220

Since over 75% of my palms are new plantings, this is a daily schedule all year.  Once everything gets established I'll probably back this off to 3 days/week except for bananas and bamboos.  We typically get a drought sometime around April-May and September-October, so I'll switch it to 7 days/week for drought periods.

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The Gerg
On 1/14/2020 at 10:08 PM, The Gerg said:

Darold, I can not remember the gph right now off the top of my head....but I do not use emitter “sprinklers” (if you will). I use 1/4” emitter “tubing”. I wrap that around the base of each of my palms (and cycads) so the water gets distributed full circle instead of sticking an emitter just on one side of the tree. I believe each little hole in the emitter tubing provides 1 gph (maybe 2) and the holes are about 8” apart or so. 

So if some trees want more water I wrap it around a couple of times. If others want less I only wrap it once and maybe a little further away from the base. When you make your move to the drip system I’m sure there are others on here who can give you more solid advice than I can.

Sounds like you are looking to water an entire planter bed where I’m just watering individual trees.

 

12 hours ago, Merlyn2220 said:

I set my drip system up with 1/2" solid tubing, and then put individual drippers on each palm using a button emitter and 1/4" tubing to put the water at a reasonable distance from the trunk.  Being in FL it's mostly a "supplemental" system, since summer 2-3pm thunderstorms usually give plenty of water.  My rule of thumb is:

  • Very small palms or seedling sized: one 0.5gph dripper for 30 minutes = 0.25 gallons per palm
  • Medium palms like a 3-6' tall: two 0.5gph or two 1gph for 30 minutes = 0.5 to 1.0 gallons per palm
  • Big palms over 6': two 1gph, four 1gph or two 2gph for 30 minutes = 1.0 to 2.0 gallons per palm
  • Bananas or bamboo: one or two 2gph for 30 minutes = 1.0 to 2.0 gallons per cluster, depending on size

I adjust this up or down depending on the soil and the species.  So a trunking Butia in a very sandy area gets two 1gph for 30 minutes, while a cluster of three Majesties gets 4x 2gph drippers because they require lots of water to stay looking nice.  On the really dry side a pretty big clustering Med. fan gets only 1x 1gph dripper.  I haven't had any issues with plugged emitters or tubing, as long as I remember to purge the 1/2" line after laying it in place, and before putting in any emitters.

Just so nobody misunderstands and thinks I’m crazy, I do use 1/2” solid tubing and branch off of that with the 1/4” emitter tubing.

Merlyn, sounds like you have yours down to a science. Mine not so much. 

 

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