Pots and Containers
by Stuart Spaulding,
CLIA Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor Training & Communications Manager at DIG Corp.
Our suggestion is to use a combination of drip 1/4″ soaker line or misters for large containers and individual drippers for the smaller pots. For larger or longer containers use our 1/4″ soaker line (drip line with .5 GPH dripper every 12″). For smaller pots use 1-2 .5 GPH drippers per pot. First, divide the containers and pots into groups with similar sizes and similar watering needs. It is also advisable to divide containers and pots into groups that are either in full sun or in shaded areas. See the list below with what we think are the best steps to help you to install this system. Please be aware that all installation applications are different. If you do not find the exact information that pertains to your application, send as an email with what you like to do for your particular situation.
In this installation configuration the system can start from a 3/4″ faucet or ho a garden hose. The system can be automated using a hose end battery operated controller (optional). This layout can be used with up to 200 small baskets or smaller number of large boxes in a wide range of application layout. With this system you have the option using the 1/2″ as the main line and the 1/4″ micro tubing as the sub lateral for a system with up to a total flow rate of 220 GPH or up to 220 1-gallon pots or using the 1/4″ micro tubing only for up to 25 1-gallon pots.
- Battery operated controller (optional) model 9001. Connect the controller to the faucet.
- After the controller installed a 3/4″ filter #13. Connect the filter to the controller. The filter will protect the drippers and the 1/4″ soaker line (drip line) from plugging.
- To the filter connect a 3/4″ FHT 25-PSI pressure regulator #4. The pressure regulator will lower the incoming pressure to a lower the pressure recommended for use with a drip system.
- 3/4″ FHT swivel adaptor #18. Connect to the pressure regulator. If you need to split the line to two sections in at the faucet use #22 swivel tee for the large system or 3/4″ x 1/4″ adaptor #21 for the smaller system
- 50′ or 100′ 1/2″ drip tubing model B35 and B36. Connect to the swivel adaptor and layout the drip tubing along the patio or pots and containers area (For the large system up to 220 1 GPH drippers or 400 .5 GPH can be installed on 1 line of 1/2″ drip tubing). For the small system use 1/4″ vinyl micro tubing model B38 for 50′, B38100 for 100′ and B38500 for 500′ and connect into the 1/4″ adaptor
- If using the 1/2″ drip tubing, near each pot, basket and container punch a hole in the 1/2″ tubing using the punch, and insert a 1/4″ barb #25.
- If using the 1/4″ micro tubing, near each pot, basket and container cut the 1/4″ micro tubing and add a 1/4″ tee #26
- Into the 1/4″ barb or 1/4″ tee connect the 1/4″ micro tubing (see above for model #), and run it to the basket or container (one line of 1/4″ micro tubing for each pot, basket or container)
- 4″ to 6″ from the pots or baskets cut the micro tubing, and attach a 1/4″ ball valve #65 (2 per pack). Ideally when everything is connected and running, each pot on the system should begin to drain water in the same time. If this is not happening, it is usually because there are various pot sizes. A 1/4″ valve can be added to control the flow to each pot or section of pots. When planning out your system, it is common to group like size containers on one line, sectioning out the pots. In this situation, a single 1/4″ valve can control the flow to a number of similar sized pots. If this is not possible because of the layout of the pots, which is common, a 1/4″ valve can be added to each line to individually control the water to the pots. This ball valve will allow you to adjust the flow by turning the knob to either side.
- After the ball valve add another piece of 1/4″ micro tubing, and run it into the pot, basket or container.
- To the end of the 1/4″, and for each basket of up to 10″ in diameter add .5 GPH #37 (pack of 5, 25 and 100) and secure with a stake #57 or #67 (pack of 10 and 100). For basket larger then 10″ and up to 12″, instead of the dripper, add a 1/4″ tee, into each side of the tee add a 3″ to 5″ micro tubing, and to the end of the two micro tubing add a .5 GPH dripper. For containers larger then 12″ or for a very long containers, inside the containers instead of the dripper, add a 1/4″ tee, into the tee connect the 1/4″ soaker line (drip line) model SH50 and make a loop around the basket or containers, if needed have two loops and then connect back to the other side of the 1/4″ tee
- 1/2″ hose ends #55 (pack of 5) or #71 (pack of 1). After the 1/2″ drip tubing is installed, turn the water on and flush the line. Close the end of the 1/2″ drip tubing. Turn the water on again and make sure that the system operating and there is no leak along the line or on the filter assembly.
- Punch #52 or our large punch #51. Use the punch to punch hole in the 1/2″ for insertion of the drippers and 1/4″ fittings
- 1/2″ tubing holder stakeParts suggestion: #60 can be used to hole the 1/2″ drip tubing to the ground
Plugs (if needed) #56. If you have a hole on the 1/2″ you can use the plug to close the hole
Start the system:
Begin by turning the water on and adjusting the flow on the 1/4″ ball valves as needed by turning the knob on the ball valve clock-wise.
NOTE: The pots probably will drain uneven (because they are in different sized) use the 1/4″ valve on each line to control the flow, so that each pot can drains at the same time regardless of size.
When watering on a regular basis, it is ideal to allow very little water to drain out of the pots. This helps conserve water and generally keeps the area cleaner. After the initial start up you will want to determine how long the system should run each time to sufficiently irrigate the pots without excess runoff. To do this, run the system checking to see how long it takes all the pots to drain. We want to set irrigation schedules about 1-2 minutes less then it takes for the pots to drain. For example, lets say it initially took the pots 5 minutes to all begin draining. This means you will want to leave the system on regularly for about 2-3 minutes each time to minimize runoff. After a week check the soil, the health of the plants, and adjust the watering time as needed.