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snaglpus

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Good day, well it took me awhile but I finally got my irrigation system completed.  I had it completed a few weeks ago but I'm a perfectionist and wasn't happy with some of the sprinklers.  So, I ordered some replacements.  I have over 70 trees and the hardest part to an irrigation system is designing it and thinking it through. 

My original plan was to install a drip system for the entire orchard and those in containers on and around my deck.  Well, I had over 300 feet of 1/2 inch poly tubing and after installing my primary trees, those in the ground, my microsprinklers took too much volume of water and I did not have enough pressure to make 1/3 of the sprinklers put out a drop of water!  So I backed up and puntted. 

I removed all 70 micro-sprinklers and installed 1 gallon drip emmitters on every tree....but I left 4 micro-sprinklers running during the transition and boy did that work!  Those micro-sprinklers work great!   In the pictures below, you will see the trenches I dug using a line trencher.  In less than 30 minutes I had all trenched dug and ready to go.  One thing I learned is not to cover the trenches until you make sure there are no leaks.  So, I left these trenches open for about 2 weeks.  I had one hole that I forgot to attach a line too, but took care of it and all is well.  I have about 60 pots that I will be placing 1/2 gallon drippers on later this week.  Last, I hooked up my timer and programmed it to run for 4 hours a day and a few hours at night.  I am glad I installed this system. Now I will have more time to make jam and eat figs!  Enjoy the pictures, cheers!

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Dennis
Charlotte, North Carolina/Zone 8a 

GeorgiaFig

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Reply with quote  #2 
What a fantastic setup Dennis.

This will be your own little Paradise.

Congratulations and enjoy.

Best wishes.

John
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Reply with quote  #3 

Nice Snagl, very nice! You are going to have many happy figs for years to come. I'm sure they will reward you for your efforts.


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Fig Well And Prosper!

Bill - SW KY. Zone 6b. 36.5N 
I'm fruitnut on ebay.
JD

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Reply with quote  #4 
Dennis,

Good work. If you have a moment and the inspiration, it would be nice to see two photographs: one of the one gallon drip emitters (how many per tree?) and the second of how you connected the feed line to your main line (1/2" or 1/4" tubing for the feed? I know you buried the main line but did you bury the feed lines?).

Also, I cannot verify this with personal experience but maybe you can test the theory that those micro sprinklers perform better with a 3/4" main line due to the increased volume of water.

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jd | tallahassee.fl | zone 8b

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Reply with quote  #5 
Dennis, I'll bet your figs will respond to the irrigation system.  Mine sure do.  It's really hard to give them enough by hand.  What kind of soil do you have?

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Tim
Zone 8a
Newport, NC Near the coast.
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Reply with quote  #6 
Nice work, Dennis. I'm assuming with so many trees that you did not install a pressure regulator coming off the valve that operates your system? Years ago before getting into figs, all of my valves had pressure regulators. I had to remove them later to get enough flow for the trees, and I found it's still not enough pressure to run the micro-sprayers although it seems okay with a few adjustable micro-sprinklers.
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Ken
Tucson, Arizona
Zone 8b
snaglpus

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Reply with quote  #7 

JD, I'll post some pictures later tonight.  I went through a learning curve on these things and now I know.

Hello Tim!  The soil varies.  On top of the hill, it is more loamy with sand.  In the middle of the hill it is rich dark and soft....little loamy.  At the bottom of the hill it's mostly hard pan sand, limestone, and rock.  I've added a good top soil with pine bark fines to that area and my Smith fig loves it!  The problem is though is those you have to apply the sprinkler a foot or so above the the tree because the water will run downhill. 

Hello Ken and others, no I did not use a pressure regulator.  With so many ties, I did not need one.  For now, I put 4 micro sprinklers on and they are running at full capacity....doing fine.  The kind I have can cover a 7 foot area so I could just use a couple of these for my entire orchard but then I will be wasting water and money.  I may remove these and just use the 1 gallon drippers.  I think this is best especially if I tie all my 70 pots to the same water line.  If I do that then I'll have to extend my watering time from 1 hour to 3 or 4 hours.  Either way, I am saving money.  The pots will have 1/2 gallon drippers.  Time is critical and if I run the sprinklers for 2 hours, then those in pots won't get too much water and those in the ground will be happier.  I may just have to to water twice a day on days of 95+ degrees like it was last week.  Another this I learned is that the birds like the sprkinkers too!  That's not good because I have Gino, Sal's and MVS figs coming in now!


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Dennis
Charlotte, North Carolina/Zone 8a 

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Reply with quote  #8 
You mention you had 70 figs. I was just wondering about the spacing. How far apart do you plant them? How much land do you need to have 70 trees?
Thank you
Karla

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Greensboro, Nc
zone 7
snaglpus

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Reply with quote  #9 
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Dennis
Charlotte, North Carolina/Zone 8a 

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Reply with quote  #10 
Very nice work Dennis.

Navid.
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Reply with quote  #11 
Wow, Dennis.  That was a lot of work, but well done.  Everything here on my property is also on drip.  Here in California, we put our drip systems on top of the soil, then cover with 3 to 4 inches of mulch.  That will keep the rodents from chewing through the lines (for the most part), but still allow us to work on the lines or add additional drips.  Very well done.  How is the system working for you now that you've had it going for over a year, now?
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Patty S.
Vista, CA
USDA 10a/Sunset 23- "Best Weather in the USA"
snaglpus

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Reply with quote  #12 
Thanks Navid!

Patty, it's working great! the hardest part was the trenching. I wanted the line lines buried but I tested them all before the trench was buried. The system works great but every spot does not have the same soil compositon. Some have more clay, some have more sand, etc. So, I have to switch out different drippers based on what each plant needs. Some are older and need more water like a 1 gal dripper versus a 1/2g dripper. The system is on a timer. I have 5 timers and orchard only gets one. It comes on for an hour a day depending on heat and air temps. The hardest part is maintenance.....me weed wacking. I try to tidy around the trees and get too close and pop! I cut one of the lines. The water timers last about 1-1/2 yrs. So, I started enclosing them from the sun. Three straight days of 95 degree temps can kill them, but it's better than watering 500 plants 5hrs a day! An irrigation system is the best investment I've made to growing figs.

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Dennis
Charlotte, North Carolina/Zone 8a 

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Reply with quote  #13 
Nice, very nice set up!  I wonder if some wood chips would help you keep the moist in their feet. ( I am one of those crazy about mulching) 
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Grasa
Seattle, WA
snaglpus

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Reply with quote  #14 
Grasa, yes mulch keep the ground cool in the summer, warm in winter and moisture. I mulch in Fall and Spring. I add the mulch after I check for leaks. I got 2 truck loads coming next month.
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Dennis
Charlotte, North Carolina/Zone 8a 

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Reply with quote  #15 
Snaglpus,

You did a lot of work......been there done that.  I have probably 3000 feet of that irrigation line I have buried and all by hand....though digging here in the sand is easy.  Well to be honest I don't dig I use a whomper to make the trenches but it is all by hand.  I went with microsprinklers though.  Each sprinkler for the figs waters a 10 circle. Each sprinkler sits on top of a modified piece of 1/2 electrical conduit.   I mulch heavily with wood chips......probably 15 utility truck loads a year are dropped off here.  I prefer the micro sprinklers for the coverage and it makes the mulch break down faster while covering a lot of the root zone.  !0" of mulch a year are laid down and by late winter it is gone.  The issue with water pressure is a real one.  I limit each run to 20 spray heads and have 12 runs total.  I can water two runs at a time as not all are fed from the same water manifold.   

As you know it is a LOT of work to set up but sure is a time saver when it is time to water.  
snaglpus

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Reply with quote  #16 

Thanks Willis.  I got a couple of microsprinklers (ms) on a few trees where the soil tends to be dryer than other spots.  I have the 6 sprinkler head MS but I go through a lot of them.  I also have a squirrel problem.  The squirrels drink water from the MS and when the sprinklers are off, the squirrels bite open the head trying to get more water.  Every year I introduce several squirrels to my pellet gun.  Most are not afraid of humans due to neighbors feeding them.

I also have 70 or 75 drippers.....one for each tree.  I really like the drippers.  They penetrate the soil better and reach the roots.  If the ground is hard and tough, you get a lot of water rollings off and water not reaching the roots using MS.  The heavy mulching helps.  And yes, the water pressure issue is a real one!  With so many trees on one link, I redesign my irrigation into a continous loop for max pressure and it worked.  I also have 300+ container trees nested in my design but with 5 water timers in a loop, they control which area gets water when. The self waterings container trees are sweet!  It only takes 15 mins to water these guys.  They can tell you which tree is getting root bound faster because that one tree will drink up the most water first wanting more after the timer goes off. It's a lot of work but worth it.


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Dennis
Charlotte, North Carolina/Zone 8a 

WillsC

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Reply with quote  #17 
Snaglpus,

We have a plague of squirrels here but have never had one bite the sprinkler heads.  I was just trying to count how many heads are out there and gave myself a headache:)  A few hundred I would guess. Some are 180 degree only which are mostly around the outside of beds but mostly is is spinners both the 6 foot and 10 foot sort.   On newly planted plants I like the 180 degree spray heads best and put a pot right behind the newly planted plant so the spray hits it and falls down to the limited roots. Once the plant takes off I unscrew the 180 and add a spinner.  The spinners are just easier as they don't clog.  I set the spinners about 2" above the mulch height.   I have my main line buried and the smaller 1/4 inch feeder line to the heads enters the 1/2 conduit underground travels up inside the conduit and only the head is exposed.  It is cheap that way as 10 feet of conduit is only $1.27  and you can make 8 risers from each length of conduit.  The conduit also protects the 1/4 line from all sun and physical (weedeater) damage. I have a weeper at the down hill side of each run where the water leaves the line. Standing water inside the line even a buried line just leads to algae problems.  Sadly here drippers won't work as the sand grabs the water and it goes straight down there is hardly any side to side water migration.
snaglpus

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Dennis
Charlotte, North Carolina/Zone 8a 

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Reply with quote  #19 
Nice job!
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Zone 6, MO

Wish list:
Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig
Tam

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Reply with quote  #20 
Very nice job, Dennis. Thanks for sharing.

Best,
Tam
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Reply with quote  #21 
Wow. . You put me to shame. Beautiful set up.
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wishlist: Good yellow /green figs

Sherry
NC
elin

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Reply with quote  #22 
thinking of planting some figs in my parents place.

is it realt neccessary to water the in ground fig trees once they are adult?

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Eli ,Israel ,Zone 10? Too humid and hot, yada yada yada
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: Sbayi, Hmadi, Black Portugal, Black Brazil,Excell, Flanders, Hmari , RDB, Niagra Black,Natalina, CDDN,Maya, Preto Torres, Preto Arge
snaglpus

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Reply with quote  #23 
Elin, it really depends on your climate and where the trees are planted. Figs need moisture and they need drainage. In my area, the Southeast, we have red clay. So, I planted my trees on a hill so they could get plenty of drainage. BUT, we also have a lot of 90 degree temps (not this year but common) which can cause a very dry soil. For 2 yrs, I only had 4 trees planted on this hill and no irrigation. The trees grew very slow and suffered in the heat. After planting more trees, I installed the irrigation and my trees were healthier. The trees suffered when the timers were off meaning no water. They dropped their leaves and put on new ones. When the irrigation is on, the leaves stay on and I get better fig production. But I only turn on water for my trees when there is no rain. But a gallon of water a day helps.
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Dennis
Charlotte, North Carolina/Zone 8a 

elin

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Reply with quote  #24 
Thanks 
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Eli ,Israel ,Zone 10? Too humid and hot, yada yada yada
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1298814119
Growing
: Sbayi, Hmadi, Black Portugal, Black Brazil,Excell, Flanders, Hmari , RDB, Niagra Black,Natalina, CDDN,Maya, Preto Torres, Preto Arge
Alex22

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Reply with quote  #25 
Hmm you have a well organized garden which is looking very good. and you have all equipment related to gardening. Glad to see that, thanks for sharing the photos.  
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Mat9

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Reply with quote  #26 
Very nice work, Dennis! I am installing a drip system for my vegetable garden and now extended for figs (or future figs, i should say). Have all the components in boxes. Your post gave me some ideas. Thanks.
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Rockland,NY-Zone 6-B
loslunasfarms

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Reply with quote  #27 
Dennis, great work. I had 300 trees put on drip and my life changed for the better that day!
snaglpus

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Reply with quote  #28 
Thanks Matt.

Jose, glad to see you posting again! I'm with you! Installing a drip irrigation system gave me such peace of mind! I'm getting to add to it later this week.

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Dennis
Charlotte, North Carolina/Zone 8a 

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