I am looking for suggestions on the rock bottom cheapest temporary irrigation system I might install.

I have approx 330 Holly trees used as a border around 5 acres.

Im only on the property weekends watering and I’m needing more possibly.

I do have electricity near my well so I’m guessing a timer of some sort would be the way.

Have it go off a couple times a week.

The system would only need to be in place until the trees are better established I.E maybe another year?

Thanks for any help

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A 4-wheeler and a big water tank in the back? Or even a fire truck?!

I’m already doing that I have a Ford Ranger that I pulled around a 275 gallon tote with a water pump it just consumes too much time and again I can only be there on the weekends

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Once a week is fine unless you just planted in the past month or so…but I really don’t have a good suggestion on cheap irrigation unless you could do a tank on a high spot and let gravity do drip irrigation for you. I’m sure somebody can chip in and help you further.


probably not the cheapest. But id personally try out a drip system. And “recycle” that for strawberry’s or veg after the tree’s are strong enough. You also have drip tape. That’s supposed to be cheaper. but only lasts 1 season.

i have no experience with it. But been looking into it myself. Just for a small garden.

Drip system irrigation with a timer and you’ll be set to go.

You can purchase the tubing and supplies from you think it’s convenient for you, there are a few suppliers online besides your local garden centers.

Greenhouse megastore and drip depot.

I have bought most of my irrigation from drip depot, they have everything you need. Tubing up to 500 feet and it lasts for many years you can punch the holes where you want to put the drippers on every tree.
On the begging where you going to connect to the water spigot you going to need the timer
a filter
a Senninger 3/4" Hose Thread Pressure Regulator - PSI : 25 PSI
The Polyethylene Tubing - Size : 1/2" by the length that you need.
And Irritec iDrop Button Dripper - Flow Rate : I use 0.5 GPH but you can choose what flow rate you want or need on your drippers.
And at the end just bend the tubing and taped or you can get the part that they sell so you can open it and clean the tubing for any dirt or else that could clog the drippers.
That part would be Irritec Perma-Loc Tubing End Cap - Perma-Loc Size : 1/2"

With this irrigation system you don’t have to worry about anything.

I hope this helps, good luck

a timer and drip system is likely your best bet. you might have some limitations on length of a single run though. standard 3/4 inch poly tubing has a max length of ~480 feet to maintain pressure and 1 inch has a max length of ~960 feet. to avoid having to run individual drippers to each of the 330 trees you could tie in 30 foot lengths of 1/4 inch drip line. I like drip depot.

Thanks everyone, Ive decided that I need to put in a decent system instead of trying to go cheapest. I dont know how long its gonna be before these plants are finally large enough to get off the irrigation but it may be a few years and even then alot weaning.

I know nothing about these systems so Ill have to do some research online.

my Biggest concern at the moment is I do not understand how running this system isnt gonna cycle my well pump on an off constantly ( which I do not want )

i think a drip system will probably be your go to than. Or maybe sprinklers.

You could watch Getting into the Weeds: Water Movement Through Soil – Make Every Drop Count - YouTube
from “episode” 8 on. Over the length you’re having to irrigate you likely need pressure compensated emitters. And i don’t think you can feed those from a large IBC container or other vessel. So i think you’d either pick large enough emitters to use the full power of your pump. Or you’ll likely want an expansion vessel to equalize pressure and lower on-off cycles on your pump.

If you got a large hill (like 15-25 feet) you could place your large water storage container on that. And gravity feed your drip. However if the hill is only a few feet, you’ll run into varying drip throughputs, and pressure compensating emitters handle to low a working pressure badly.
Non pressure compensated i think handles lower pressures slightly better. However you should expect a way lower efficiency (more waste) since some plant might get 2-3 times the water others will.

I think pressure compensated with an “amount of emitters times flow rate of emitters” that matches your pump is the cheapest.

Drip is your best bet. It lasts for years and is very cheap to install. You can get everything at Home Depot. 1/2 inch drip line is 10ct/foot and cheaper if you buy 500 feet at a time which you most likely will need with 5 acres. Emitters are around 25ct each, 1/2 gallon per hour each. A timer is $25. Any other irrigation system will cost 10x as much or more. Can be buried or left on the surface. Alternative is PVC pipe and sprinklers which costs much more and many more zones. 25gpm of water is enough for 3,000 1/2 gph emitters or just 10 sprinkler heads! I’ve used drip for years but have just a house and 1/4 acre.

Mulching would be the best way to cut back your need of irrigation by a lot. I would contact tree pruning services around you, they produce more green wood chips they can use. One of them should be happy to dispose of a truckload or two in your property.

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There is alot more to even a drip irrigation as Oscar pointed out, otherwise the pump could be burned up in no time due to cycling, I contacted and spent quite a bit of time with drip depot and they have won the award for the worst customer service, no way too talk with alive human being so e-mails have to be sent back and forth constantly for even the most mundane of questions.

I have now contacted someone at Rain Bird and Im hoping for better results, I have given him the data that he needs and Im assuming he is going to design a system that will save my well pump.

Ive decided to go for the gusto and not only provide water to my Holly trees but also include the 500 Confederate Jasmine plants that I plan to place along the fence line soon.

Its gonna prob set me back quite a bit but its gonna save me a lot of time which is money.

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You could also post the relevant data here. So we can watch/think along.
If not yet installed drip myself. But am heavily read up upon the subject. And have a physics background. It doesn’t hurt to know about pressure different types of flow etc.

with a bit of luck it won’t only save you time. But will also save your plants. And save you the money and hassle of replanting. And due to the good efficiency of drip. Also save you some water. Which doesn’t hurt your wallet and the environment. Although to be perfectly honest i don’t think drip will always pay for itself compared to other cheaper options. Or at least not in the first year(s). (talking about PC high quality drip)

I will do my best, what I know at this point is that I can use the 1.5 PVC that I purchased many months ago for my mainline of the drip system.

I purchased this PVC to set around the perimiter of the property and have access to water, Allen ( the gentleman at Rainbird ) has told me that there is a way to not only have the water whereever I want it ( to fill as 5 gallon bucket as an example ) but this PVC can be used as my main line for my irrigation.
He explained this to me as to how it could be done but I am still unclear how I could have access to the water without the irrigation running at the same time.

Copied and pasted below is the e-mail I sent along with my crude drawing. I am awaiting his further response.

Good morning Allen, I’m assuming you will be able to open the attached sketch of my property, things worth noting :

1- It is not drawn to scale
2- There is a 14 ft spacing between the fence line ( jasmine plants ) and the Holly trees, I’m assuming this might be a good area to place the 1.5 mainline pvc
3- I had mentioned on the phone that I had 2 inch pvc to use as a mainline but I was incorrect, it is 1.5 and I have enough to circle the property. I am hoping that I can use this throughout versus having to purchase additional mainline material?
4- If possible I would like to have faucets located at least at the front or far end of the property ( East side ) I am still unclear even after your explanation how this could be accomplished without having the irrigation running as well.
5-There are breaks for pathways throughout the Holly trees, they do not completely circle the property, this is why the dimensions for rows of plants do not match up from side to side.
6- Is it possible for you to create a shopping cart that I could purchase the required items from?
7- I was surprised at seeing the decline in water pressure after running the water wide open after the suggested 10 minutes. The test was taken at 30 on the gauge to fill the tank just as you had suggested.
8- I’m assuming I would make my attachments at the bottom of the water tank that I show in one of the pictures? This will eventually run over to a home but it is not being used for anything right now other than filling my tote.
9- There are no jasmine plants in the ground yet, they are still growing larger in pots, I’m assuming I can get this all set up and somehow capped of on the fence side so that it will not be a huge project running water to them when I am ready?
I show a couple of pictures of the Holly trees hoping to give you a better idea of size in case you had not had the opportunity to look at my you tube video 073property.
My name is Jason and Thank-you

On the diagram I’m not seeing the mainline encircling the property? Only on the north and south side? Is there just enough for that? or is there enough to completely encircle the property?

I think either your faucets can’t run unless the irrigation and mainline are running. Or you would have to put a switch/timer on each split off off the mainline.

Seeing as your watering 2 types of plants. You likely want 2 irrigation “zones” of drip. Or do you think the jasmines and holly tree’s will roughly need the same amount of water? in that case you could get away with 1 zone. If your drip amount (gallon/hour) does not exceed the pump.

I’m assuming 30 on the gauge refers to PSI from your pump?

And the decline in water pressure after running the pump for a while is probably the water level in your well dropping due to usage. And the increased head pressure of pumping water from deeper causes your pressure decrease. although that’s just a guess.
Would be interesting to know the flow rate (time to fill the 275 gal tote) starting after the pump has been running for a while.

Do you plan on having your irrigation on a timer? or do you want to manually turn it off and on? (id personally go timer)

I did no show the mainline running all the way around the property in the drawing but that is only because I did not think it necessary in the drawing itself. I have enough for the entire property. I show it on the N side and the E.side with the dotted line, not the N and S as you suggested.

It is the dotted line

Evidently there is a way to have the water spouts working without the irrigation running, Ill post more when I know more.

I do not know that one type of plant needs more drip than another. Ill have to wait and see what Allen suggests and then go from there.

30 on the gauge refers to psi on the pump.

He had me open the valve at the bottom of my water tank and let the pump run for 10 minutes before timing how long it would take to fill my 275 gallon tote with the pressure set at 30.

It took the 10 minutes 18 seconds or roughly puts out 27 gallons per minute with its 1.5 H.P motor.

I plan to work with a timer.

I have literally hundreds of other trees I could be watering on my property using this but at what point do I say that Ive bought enough products? I do enjoy going there and watering my trees and of course Im assuming that at some point my sycamore and Oak trees will be well rooted in that they will not need it so badly to grow well.

Im sure the fruit trees however would really like some steady irrigation, they are gonna have to wait.

Im a one man show and can only do so much.

Construction trash bags with pinholes can work and be repurposed as trash bags, but I guess filling them and tying them off by twisting and using heavy rubber bands or some kind of clamp would be too time consuming. Big box stores sell drip hose very cheaply, but I worry with such a long stretch of it, you’d end up having much more water come out at the beginning of the hose connection than at the end.

Seeing how incredibly sandy your soil is I can understand the issue. You are already mulching but if you are trying to save money you should have an arborist dump off truck loads wood chips if you want to mulch cheaply. Helps if the arborist keeps his equipment in good shape and chips are not infused with strips when hand loading. Pitch forks work much better than shovels if you are loading a wheel barrow by hand, which I’m guessing you’ve no time for. You can also use grass clippings and leaves, but be careful with grass clippings and don’t let them get soggy and rot in a way that drowns the plants. Mixing grass with leaves mulches and fertilizes, but nothing holds available water like rotting wood. It will also turn that sand into very rich soil in about 10 years if you keep bringing it in- but any good organic matter can do that if you get enough of it to break down.

Ive made some mistakes with all these plants and being new to all of this.
One of the biggest was not knowing that my sand did not permeate water easily, there is a special word for this that I keep forgetting.
I planted these Holly trees at the beginning of last year, of course watered them right away, after a while I noticed that the water was pooling at the surface and I started to brag to people ( all year long I bragged ) that I had poured so much water onto each plant that there was a column of water under each plant I.E saturated soil.

I was wrong,

The sand is so fine that it just dosent allow the water to pass very quickly. ( cant remember that word)

No one told me anything about this so I went along, sprayed my plants for a few seconds until water puddled and moved onto the next one.

Now Im pulling out dead plants that have sometimes very long roots that have run under the mulch but there is nearly NOTHING down deep.

So the roots ran laterally, when the soil dried out ( as it does quickly on the surface mulch or no mulch ) the plant would suffer and die.

I do not know how many more Im gonna lose.

Every weekend I go out there I hold my breath wishing for no more deaths.

Now Im holding the water nozzle on each plant for a full 30 seconds which Ive measured to be about 2 gallons per plant.

Of course the mulch is still becoming saturated so the roots are prob still tending to stay at the surface cause the surface prob stays damp the longest after I leave.

But Im assuming more water is at least going down so hopefully my trees will chase after that wetness as well.

Its not about saving money at this point, I have been on Chip drop over a year with offering to pay and no results. There is only one local tree guy that would drop off chips but unfortunately he couldnt play fair and was dumping less than full loads and still expected the full load price.

At some point when my mulch pile is depleted im gonna have to pay big money to have a company bring some in but Ive still got quite a large pile of chips and not desperate yet.

I have tractors to move around my material.

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