Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sprinkler Maintenance - keeping your drip emitters emitting

Drip system maintenance is probably the easiest home maintenance task of them all; no need to worry about pvc pipe, risers, solenoids, or anything else like that.  It's as easy as checking the emitter (sometimes called a flag) to make sure it works, and if it doesn't work you just need to cut it off with a scissors and stick a new one on - simple as pie.  Of course, this is assuming you can find the damn emitters!

When you plant new plants (or when the builder does), the drip needs to be near the base, because their root system is small. Over time, however, the bush, and its roots, will grow significantly.  I recommend spending the 5 minutes it'll take to move the emitter away from the bush's center, and relocating it near the plant's perimeter.  It'll be far easier to keep your eye on it, year after year, if you can see it.  It'll also be easy to make any future repairs.

I've watched a couple of my shrubs wilt away over the last month or so; fixing the drip line has been on my list of things to do, but I hadn't gotten to it yet.  Here is an example of one plant which is looking particularly "sticky".  I had to hack my way through to the center of the plant in order to extend the drip line and add a new emitter.  Once I found the old emitter, it took only a couple of minutes.  Fortunately, this is a desert plant and there's still a little green on it - it should come back fine...


It's difficult to see how much I had to hack away at this plant.  (you can click the picture to see a larger image.)



Here is the new emitter at the plant's perimeter.



The new flag, up close and personal.

Your not-very-green thumbed Realtor,

Chris Butterworth