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Installing Watering Line & Devices

Before you add watering devices to the tubing, flush it free of dirt and debris. Once the water runs clear from the ends of the lines, turn it off and close the lines with end caps or figure-eight closures.

Figure-eights are simple to install but are less easily removed when you need to flush the line. End caps come in both compression and locking styles and have a tip that can be unscrewed to flush the line; some are designed to flush automatically before and after each watering period.

Use your irrigation layout as a guide in locating the various watering devices, but rely on your own judgment in repositioning them as needed.

Drip Emitters

Drip Emitters

To install a drip emitter directly into 1/2- or 3/8-inch drip tubing, punch a hole in the tubing (as shown at bottom) and then insert the barbed end of the emitter.

You can also install an emitter on microtubing run from the main drip line. Connect one end of the microtubing to a hole in the drip line with a barbed 1/4-inch connector. Then insert an emitter into the other end and position it at the plant. You can hold the emitter in place with a stake. On slopes, locate emitters on the uphill side of the plant.

To make a chain of in-line emitters, string them together with microtubing and then secure the microtubing to the main drip line with a barbed connector. The microtubing coming from the water source goes into the colored side of the emitter. Use a goof plug or emitter to cap the end of the microtubing.

Sprayers, Minisprinklers & Misters

To install a spray device, run microtubing from a hole in the main drip line, attaching it with a barbed connector. Extend the microtubing to a plastic stake at the desired location. Some devices screw directly to the stake; otherwise, the stake merely supports the microtubing.

Pop-up sprayers and minisprinklers go into the ground. Some come with optional protector attachments to keep soil out. Some mister heads come with built-in spikes as well as barbed connectors that can attach directly to a main drip line or microtubing.

Emitter Line

Larger, 1/2-inch emitter line can be connected to the main drip line with a compression fitting such as a tee, an elbow, or a coupling. Plug the end with an end cap. Attach 1/4-inch emitter line to the drip line with a barbed connector and seal the end with a goof plug or, if you want extra flushing action, a drip emitter.

Punching Holes in Emitter Line

How to punch holes in emitter line:

When making holes in drip tubing for emitters and barbed fittings, use a punch designed for the purpose.

1Make sure the tubing is lying straight and in its final orientation, not twisted.
2Position the hole so that the emitter will drip to the side or downward.
3Hold the punch at a right angle to the tubing to ensure a round hole that will seal tightly against the emitter’s barb.You may find the piercing process to be easier if you slowly twist the punch as you push it into the tubing. On some punches, the tip may become clogged; if so, clear it out before punching again. If you punch a hole in the wrong place, seal it with a goof plug.

Testing a Drip System

Before you start using a new drip system, you need to test it. Begin by connecting the drip control valves to the timer.sunset-sprinklers

To check individual circuits, open the shutoff valve and use the timer to turn on each circuit manually. If none turn on, make sure each valve was installed in the right direction and then inspect the wiring at the controller and valves. If just one circuit fails to come on, check the flow-control setting for that valve.

Once the water is flowing through all the circuits, check for leaks and fix any holes in the tubing by inserting goof plugs into them. Remove areas of tubing with any gashes and replace them with compression coupling. Clean out blocked emitters or sprayers.

Make sure all watering devices are near plants to avoid wasting water, and adjust sprayers and mini-sprinklers if they’re throwing in the wrong direction. Once you are sure water is flowing through all the circuits and there are no leaks, cover the system with mulch.


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