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Wet Your Plants - All About Irrigation

Good irrigation is critical to beautiful landscaping, healthy gardens, and effectively maintaining the property of one’s home. Your irrigation needs depend on the size of your property, the type of plants that require watering, as well as your local climate. In Santa Fe we try to be as conservative about water as possible, which is why proper irrigation not only saves you money, but is better for the environment as well.

Before you get started, it is important to design and map out your irrigation system prior to purchasing products and beginning installation. This ensures that moisture will get to all areas needed without too many gaps or unnecessary overlapping of hydration. Keep in mind access to electrical outlets (if needed) as well as water access for your irrigation hookups.

There are several different types of irrigation. Micro-irrigation, or drip systems, are a network of tubing that delivers moisture directly to areas around plant roots. These are prone to freezing in cold weather and aging and cracking in hot weather, which is why it is important to monitor the lines. Rotary sprinklers are the rotating heads that we are so familiar with in the summertime. While fun to run through, they deliver water in a non-specific manner, which can result in wasting a significant amount of water. Spray irrigation systems are heads that pop up out of the ground to deliver water to a large area and are typically on timers. While these can target areas better than the rotary sprinklers, just like the drip systems, the heads need to be checked for leaks as they can weather and crack as well.

When having an irrigation system installed, make sure you ask for one where the valves are put together using a Schedule 40 PVC Dura Manifold System or similar product. These manifolds are a screw on type and have a rubber O-ring so no pipe dope or Teflon tape is needed. The valves are assembled without having to use glue on the PVC - this better ensures that leaks do not occur. It does cost a bit more up front, but it also makes it extremely easy to repair/replace valve and/or the manifold system, if needed, so it will save you quite a bit in labor cost to repair if needed in the future.

Regardless of what system you choose, all irrigation options need to be maintained regularly to ensure your plants are getting the water they need and that no leaks have occurred. If using a PVC design and a valve does need to be replaced, you will have to cut the PVC to get to the valve. If you have more than one valve, in most cases you will have to rebuild your PVC manifold altogether. Using the manifold system, it is just a matter of unscrewing the bad valve and replacing it.

If choosing the type of irrigation, designing the layout, and maintenance of the system seems overwhelming, don’t worry - Desert Rose is skilled at a variety of irrigation techniques perfect for our high desert climate. A hydrated plant is a happy plant so don’t let our upcoming summer heat catch you by surprise!

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