Drip Irrigation revisted

I have posted in the past with questions and had great answers.
I didn’t get quite the detail I needed and have been researching since. I am now ready to place my order and would like to run the plan by you folks for any glaring errors.
If you don’t want to check my math I understand. :slight_smile:

The general idea is to use 1/2" mainline tubing with 1/4" tube extensions to a 2ft diameter ring of 1/4"
drip tubing around each tree. The drip tubing will be .5gph emitters on 1ft spacing.

A 2ft diameter ring will take approx 6ft of tube with .5gph drippers every foot for a total of 3gph per tree.

If I run for 4 hours that would be 12gallons per tree twice a week for a total of 24 gallons per tree per week.

3gph per tree x 25 trees would require my well to provide 75 gallons per hour or 1.25 gallons per minute which it will do easily.

Am I close?

This kit will get me almost everything that I need to start. 102$ plus free shipping seems very reasonable to me to give it a shot


My only problem is that due to the spacing of my trees I will need some elbows and tees that are not included and I will exceed the recommended maximum of 200’ of 1/2 inch mainline. I may see about putting a 3/4" mainline down the middle of the three rows and coming off of that with 1/2" on the other two.

Wait till you see what critters and winter freezes do to your hose. :astonished:

I think much depends upon the age/size of your trees, and your climate. I see you are z5, but there are hot and dry z5 areas (like us) and wetter ones.

I have been planning a similar drip system for my fruit trees, and came up a similar solution (although I was planning on using 1/2" drip for the circles/spirals as well). For me I was trying to deal with having a mix of mature larger trees and smaller 1-2 yr old ones in the same runs. My plan was to put a spiral of drip around each tree, some would get a longer spiral than others. As the smaller trees grew, I could lengthen their spirals so that they got more water.

I assume you got the quantity of water right for your trees and climate, and that you’ve sized the lines for the water flow you need (now and into the future). If your trees are still young, how do you plan on giving them more water further out in the future? Also if your site is hilly or really anything but level, you probably need pressure compensating emitters so that the trees at the high end get the same water as those lower down (doesn’t look like the emitters in this kit are pc).

I can’t say for sure, but it seems to me there is less rodent damage (chewing) on the bigger lines than the smaller, thinner ones. But I have not done a controlled experiment. Just something to consider.

Otherwise sounds good.

Are these young trees? I’ve done a few as you describe. As they get bigger, I’d like the water further from the trunk. I prefer micro sprinklers on the end, instead of the hoop of 1/4" drip tube.

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They are young dwarf trees between 1 and 5 years old. As they get older/larger I was just going to make the hoop bigger or add a second one.

Nope. That’s why I’m asking.

It really depends on your soils and climate how much water is available. It will take some trial and error to get it right.

I’m short on water and I get by with one 1 GPH emitter on each dwarf apple but the peaches have two emitters.

I run the water about 12 hours which makes circle about 3 feet in diamater at each emitter.

If I had more water, I would use micro sprinklers. Commercial peach growers on sandy soils south of me all use micro- sprinklers.

One brand of micro sprinklers uses about 6 GPM or about the same as 6 emitters.

This will give you an estimate of the trees water requirements:


This provides some additional context for that chart:

Fwiw I use the Micro sprinklers. Mine are adjustable and can put out up to 9gph. It’s very easy to walk around the orchard and see whether they’re working. And to measure their flow rate.

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Sounds like a similar plan to mine, expand the spirals/circles as things grow…

As far as the water quantity, I’d agree with blueberrythrill, there are several factors which weigh in. Your climate, soil type and availability of water are the main factors. One way to estimate is the “rule of thumb” of 1" of rain per week. Calculate how many gallons of water that will be for your trees say in a circle just bigger than their drip line; at their current size and at their eventual full size. Then you know how much water you will need to put down per tree now and at full size. (As a check, see how that calculated number compares to how much you’ve been watering now.) Based on that you can calc how many of what flow rate emitters you will need for how long per tree, again now and in the future. And what the flow rate you will need per “leg” or zone of your system, and then be sure your water supply and the size mainline pipe you plan to use will handle that flow rate (as well as the filter and your water supply).

There are a bunch of variables in this (like how many times a week you plan to water, how much water you can spare per water cycle, how many trees you will water at once, etc). But these are things you will have to “play” with to get a plan that works.

When I was planning mine, I had to factor in that I am watering from a limited flow well, and I was using garden hose to get the water to the drip system, so my maximum flow was limited to 4g/min. That caused me to break things up into zones, with just as many trees as that flow rate could handle at the full grown size of the trees per zone. But your needs and situation will likely be different.

Also, several of the online drip sellers offer a planning service, if you send them info about your setup. That might be worth doing just to see what they would design and how it compares to what you’re planning.

When I set up irrigation for my potted figs, poms and other plants, I bought several types of emitters since they are relatively cheap, including some votex fan sprinklers on stakes that you can adjust the output all the way up to almost 20gph.

I tested them and they are very nice and would probably be great for in ground trees, but for my application I actually found it easiest to use spot-spitters as recommended by Richard and some others.

I ran either 1 per 1/8 tube, or split 2 off of a 1/4 in tube (to 1/8 inch). They are color coded by output and cheap and easy to swap out, so since I was new at it I found it very easy to just swap them around until I found the right balance per tree. Since the pot sizes, etc. are very varied for my plants, the spot spitters worked great as I figured out what the right flow per plant was on a 8-10 minute cycle. With the higher output and no moving parts there shouldn’t be any problems with them clogging or wearing out. Plus the 1/8 line they use is easier to manipulate without it springing back, etc.

I like the idea of the drip line, but it seemed easier to adjust relative volume as needed for the different plants by using spot spitters, micro sprayers, etc. I’ll probably try to drip line for some rows of lettuce, etc. where the spot spitters wouldn’t be as useful.

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If I did this right a 6ft diameter circle is 4071 sq inches X 1 inch deep would be 4071 cubic inches / 231 Cubic inches per gallon is 17 gallons. I’m not terribly far off.


These adjust up to 1/2 gallon a minute, so about 30 minutes, huh?

That wouldn’t do it for me… 25 trees would require 12.5 gallons per minute out of the well.
And a pretty big pipe feeding it.

Couldn’t you split the watering into multiple zones, rather than trying to water all 25 trees at once? I have 3 zones at my place for different plantings.

I water 400 dwarf apple trees with a 10 Gpm household well on 1 zone. A total of 5 acres in about 8 zones from the same well.

The average apple tree gets about 24 gal/week which is plenty of water unless we have a severe drought in which case we have enough water to keep the trees alive but not at maximum growth or production.

The problem is his hose bib and / or garden hose (depending upon diameter and length) will likely limit him to around 4 - 5 gallons per minute.

This was almost exactly my situation. Approximately 35 trees, 15 gpm well but 5 gpm at the hose tip. So I could get 300 gallons / hr to the orchard, or ~ 8.5 gph per tree. You can play around with the number of sprinklers per tree, number of waterings per week, time per watering, sprinkler flow rate, etc to customize your water plan. Adding a timer gives even more flexibility…

Yeah, 2 zones, each with a $30 timer, happy days.

I have been actively researching this. I have Garden and Fruit trees and we frequently go through very dry spells. I nearly killed myself keeping up with my trees in a 4 month dry spell last year. My trees and garden are 150 mile from my regular home and it was exhausting. Although fortunately last year I only had fruit trees but they were ALL first year. Seems I did fine since they have all survived. This is what I went with. I went through Drip Depot as well

Getting Drip Irrigation. I just can’t see making this whole thing work without it…Not Tooo Bad???$650.00 will be enough to do all my beds and my fuit trees…I think. Or Very close at least. Dragging 500 feet of hose is getting old…

[​IMG] 175 Ultimate Drip Irrigation Kit for Small Farms 1 $513.99 $513.99
[​IMG] 1702 Claber 8488 Dual Select Advanced Push-Button Digital Water Timer 1 $129.99 $129.99
[​IMG] 1425 Claber Rain Sensor 1 $29.99 $29.9


Jeff, looks like you are using drip tape for the emitters around the trees. Are you doing straight runs with it, or have you figured out a way to curve it around a tree’s dripline?

I have a similar project that I hope to get to this summer. Although the dragging the hose around does give me a chance to look over the trees more than I might otherwise.

Actually it’s funny you should ask Steve. After further consideration I have 3 Beds for garden that are about 100 feet x 200 feet or so each and I will most likely end up using that vast majority of this kit there. So I decided to get one of these kits and see how it goes…I may get two if it works out. I do have some trees in straight line but you are absolutely right…I did not consider the circling the tree so i will try these too…

Standard Drip Irrigation Kit for Trees