Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Secret to Planning the Perfect Drip Irrigation System 

APRIL 16, 2014

As with most things in life, the more you put in, the more you get out. This holds true when planning a drip irrigation system. We help thousands of people every year set up their first drip irrigation system. A typical help call may go something like this:

Drip Depot Customer Service: “Hi, thanks for calling Drip Depot. How can we help you today?”
Customer: “I have two raised beds. What do I need?”

Drip Depot Customer Service: “Can I ask you a few questions about your project?”
Customer: “I guess so.”

The customer usually replies with hesitation in their voice because they feel like we [Drip Depot] should already know everything they need. However, through thousands of calls, we know that no two drip irrigation systems are alike. To get the perfect drip system for your garden, raised beds, landscape, etc., the planning stage is critical. By spending some time thinking about your project, you can save money by:

1) Ordering the right parts and/or
2) Getting all the right parts the first time.

How to Start:

The very first thing that we recommend doing when planning your first drip irrigation system is to take time to draw a sketch of your project area. This does not need to be a work of art or done using computer-aided drafting (CAD). Graph paper can be helpful, but a blank piece of paper will work just as well.
Start by locating where your water source is and draw it on your paper.
Next, draw the path that your mainline tubing will take. It is helpful to get an estimate of how much mainline tubing you will need as well as how many fittings you will need, as the length may determine the size of tubing needed (read more).
Note on your drawing anywhere you will need to make a 90-degree turn. Elbow fittings will be needed for this.
Note anywhere you need to run tubing in two different directions—a tee will be needed.
Note anywhere the mainline tubing ends. End caps will be needed for this.
It is good to note how many plants you need to water and if you have any especially water-hungry plants in your system, as special considerations may need to be made in these cases (e.g., more than one dripper or high-volume drippers).
If the mainline tubing runs close enough to the plants that need to be watered, you can insert drippers right in the tubing using a hole punch. If this is not the case, then microtubing and ¼” connectors will be needed to run the dripper to the plants to be watered. 
A basic sketch will help you better visualize your project and make sure that you don’t forget those elbows. A sketch can also stop you from ordering too much tubing. Of course if you draw out your project and still have questions, we will always be happy to help. And we love seeing people’s project sketches!
Our Quick Start Guide is a great reference tool to use during this process.

Written by Mike Ricker | Mike Ricker is always looking for ways to make drip irrigation easier for everyone.  If you found this article useful or have a great tip please pass it on to Mike at: 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tips for Companion Planting

APRIL 9, 2014

Many of today’s forward thinking gardeners and greenhouse owners already know that certain plants tend to help other plants grow but many of us don’t really understand the concept. It’s called companion gardening and it works with the relationship of one plant or a group of plants that are planted with another group of plants to provide many different benefits resulting in increased crop productivity. Although it may sound like the latest in bio-science technology, companion planting has been around for centuries helping farmers and gardeners grow healthier, more prosperous crops.

Why use companion planting?

Companion gardening, when practiced correctly, can effectively solve many pest control, pollination and elemental protection issues in other, less viable, plants. Companion gardening can be used successfully anywhere in the world and can benefit many different plant species.
Not only can certain plants be used to repel harmful insects, there are still other plants whose job it is to attract certain insect species which are beneficial to the plants they are companioned with. The African marigold is well known for exuding chemicals through its root system and other above ground parts that repel pests better than any chemical process ever could. Companion planting is used to protect plants from not only insects, but direct sunlight as well. Providing much needed shade can help plants not only survive the harsh summer heat, but thrive and even flourish.
 Have you ever noticed that there is always a row of trees at one end or the other of a farmer’s field? This is an example of companion planting and the row of trees is acting as a windbreak to protect the crops from damaging high speed winds blowing across the field.
Another interesting example of companion gardening is called Increased Level Interaction which basically means that one crop is grown over top of another crop to act as shade or protection from certain bird species. This is especially useful where space is limited and multiple crops are still required.

Trap Cropping is yet another example of companion gardening in which one plant that attracts a certain type of harmful insect is planted near a crop that needs protection from insects. The insects are drawn away from the beneficial crop and to the crop planted as a “trap” for them. This method saves money over buying potentially harmful pesticides.
This leads us to the Positive Hosting method of companion gardening involving certain trees or entire crops that have certain strict pollination requirements benefitting from different types of flower species being planted in the immediate area of the crop. The flowers main purpose is to attract pollinating insects in large quantities enabling the pollination process to become more widespread across the host crop.
 A successful method used by Native Americans was called the “Three Sisters” technique and it involved planting three different, yet correlating crops side by side. This may have been corn, pole beans and squash where the corn crop provides the necessary structure for the pole beans to grow healthy and strong. Where does the ground dwelling squash come into play? It acts as ground cover and keeps the weeds at bay so all three plants can grow and produce abundant amounts of food. Each plant has its own unique benefits that it brings to the equation; the corn for its structure, the pole beans for the nitrogen production and the squash as ground cover and pest deterrent. You might also see other plants grown in the area such as sunflowers to draw away certain insect species and a Rocky Mountain Bee Plant which will draw bees to the area for pollination purposes. All of this shows the real success of companion planting; being able to choose plants for their ability to protect other plants is what makes companion planting so ideal for today’s more eco-friendly world.        
Many organic farmers and gardeners have realized the potential of companion planting as it eliminates the need for harmful chemical pesticides and reduces insect damage, reduces weeds and is a better, more natural way of fertilizing. Gardening more naturally using companion gardening means no more toxic chemicals and healthier, more nutritious plants and vegetables.

Another eco-friendly gardening practice is called “Square Foot Gardening” and it involves planting many different species of plant in a very small area, usually a container or raised bed gardening platform.  This method is more often used in home gardens where space can sometimes be limited. Being able to grow several different plants in one small area benefits not only certain plants, but the gardener as well as they can produce a much more bountiful yield while using less space.

There are several irrigation kits that can be used to aid in the success of your companion gardening methods and they will allow you to maintain a healthy garden from first plant, all the way to harvest.

    Written by Mike Ricker | Mike Ricker is always looking for ways to make drip irrigation easier for everyone.  If you found this article useful or have a great tip please pass it on to Mike at: 

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

    Tips for Selecting the Right Fittings For Your Project

    APRIL 2, 2014

    If you purchased your tubing or drip tape from Drip Depot, the you should simply order fittings that match the size listed in the description of the tape or the tubing.  For example, if you ordered 1/4" poly tubing, then any of our 1/4" fittings are guaranteed to fit. This holds true for all tubing, tape and fittings sold by Drip Depot. 
    What if you purchased your tubing elsewhere?  It can be difficult to find compatible fittings, since there are no industry standards regarding drip irrigation tubing sizes.  For example, manufacturers may list their tubing size as ½” but it is really the inside diameter (ID) and outside diameter (OD) that will help you in sourcing the correctly sized fittings. We have an in-depth article about adding to existing drip irrigation systems and sourcing proper fittings which can be found here: Tips for adding to an existing drip irrigation system

    How to Choose a Fitting Type

    For ¼” tubing, the choice is easy because there is only one type available and that is barbed.  For other sizes of tubing, there may be up to 3 choices of fitting styles. Those three styles are known as Barbed, Compression and Perma-Loc.  Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, which will be explained below.

      Barbed Fittings

      Barbed fittings are economical and are easy to use. The are available for use with ¼”, ½” & ¾” tubing sizes.  Simply push the fitting into an open end of tubing. Make sure to push the tubing as far over the fitting as possible.  That's it!  However, for anyone that has ever tried to push a barbed fitting into cold tubing, they know it can be struggle.  If you are going to use barbed fittings, we highly recommend that you put some warm water in a cup (do not use boiling water - it could damage the tubing and burn you) and dunk the end of the tubing in it for approximately 10 seconds before attempting to push in a barbed fitting. The warm water temporarily softens the tubing and makes fitting insertion much easier. Alternatively, if you are working with ¼” fittings and want a really slick way of inserting them check out our ¼” fitting insertion tool.  
      So what are the negatives to using barbed fittings?  As we’ve mentioned, they can be difficult to push into tubing.  Another drawback is that they are not reusable.  This means that once you insert them, they cannot be removed and placed elsewhere.  Anyone that may need to reconfigure their drip system from year to year would not want to use barbed fittings. 

      Compression Fittings

      Compression fittings are very popular with contractors or other people doing large-scale projects due to the low cost of the fittings.  However, compression fittings are the most difficult fitting to insert into tubing.  Installing a compression fitting can be frustrating and it may take many attempts to attach the tubing to the fitting.  We have two solutions to make compression fitting insertion easier: 1) heat the end of the tubing with warm water or 2) mix some soap with warm water and cover the end of the tubing.  In addition to being hard to install, compression fittings are not reusable.  Once inserted into tubing, these fittings can not be removed. 
      Note: Compression fittings are available only for ½” tubing.

      Perma-Loc Fittings

      Perma-Loc fittings are the Cadillac of drip irrigation fittings.  They are easy to use, extremely durable and reusable.  Due to the extreme durability and reusability of Perma-Loc fittings we highly recommend them for all projects.  In fact, these are the fittings that we include in each Drip Depot kit.  The fitting has a locking nut that rotates over top of the tubing, locking the tubing into place once the tubing has been pushed over the tapered barb.  The same nut can be rotated backwards off the tubing allowing the tubing to be pulled off the bard and the fitting to be reused wherever needed. This is big advantage over barbed and compression fittings. The only negative to using a perma-loc fitting is the price.  They are more expensive than the other fitting types but ease of use and reusability make the price difference worth it.   
      Perma-Loc tubing fittings are available for use with drip irrigation poly tubing in the following sizes: ½”, ¾” and 1".  We also have Drip Tape Perma-Loc fittings that work with ⅝” and ⅞” drip tape. All of our Prema-Loc fittings are manufactured in the USA.
        Written by Mike Ricker | Mike Ricker is always looking for ways to make drip irrigation easier for everyone.  If you found this article useful or have a great tip please pass it on to Mike at: 

        Wednesday, March 26, 2014

        Tips for Selecting the Right Drippers for Your Project

        MARCH 26, 2014

        There are lots of choices to make when it comes to drip irrigation drippers (sometimes called emitters). To choose the best one for your project, you have to take into account several factors. These factors include but are not limited to pressure compensating (pc) vs. non pressure compensating, dirty or hard water, elevation changes, and varying water requirements between plants. In this guide we will discuss each of these factors as well as several other considerations in more detail.

        Pressure Compensating vs. Non Pressure Compensating

        A pressure compensating dripper will deliver the same amount of water to each plant regardless of changes in pressure throughout the drip irrigation system. A non pressure compensating dripper will not compensate for the pressure change, and thus not all your plants will receive the same amount of water.

        What might cause a rise or drop in pressure in a drip irrigation system? Very long runs of tubing at or above the gallon per hour capacity for that tubing size and/or changes in elevation. If your system is using long runs of tubing or is installed over terrain that has elevation changes, then we recommend a pressure compensating drip emitter.

        If You Have Dirty or Hard Water

        If your water is coming from a well, pond, rain barrel, or other source that collects debris, then we strongly recommend a cleanable dripper. This recommendation also goes for anyone that has hard water and sees deposits build up. Cleanable drippers can be opened up and cleaned. If you were to use a dripper that was not cleanable, and it were to get clogged, you would have to replace the entire dripper, since there is no way to clean it. Cleanable drippers allow for the head of the dripper to be unscrewed from the base of the dripper so that the orifice can be cleaned of any debris that is blocking the flow of water.

        Recommended Drippers: Cleanable PC Dripper or Large Button Dripper

        Slopes and Elevation Changes

        Slopes and elevation changes can change the pressure within a drip irrigation system. This can alter the amount of water that is emitted from each dripper in a system. If this is not a concern for you, then you can use any dripper you like. However, if you are watering on a slope and you wish for all the plants in the system to receive the same amount of water, then we recommend using a pressure compensating dripper.

        Recommended Drippers: Cleanable PC Dripper, Pressure Compensating Dripper with Barbed Outlet or Button Dripper

        Attaching Drippers to PVC Pipe

        For anyone looking to place emitters directly into PVC, a threaded emitter is needed. The barbed emitters will not connect directly to PVC. Our threaded emitters and threaded ¼” fittings are all on 10/32 threads. To use these, you would simply pre-tap your PVC with the appropriate sized drill bit and screw in the emitter or fitting. If you want to use a barbed dripper with PVC, you can use our 1/4" Barb Adapter x 10-32 Thread. You would pre-tap the PVC, screw in the threads, and then attach a length of microtubing and insert the barbed dripper at the end of the micro tubing.

        Recommended Drippers: Adjustable Dripper on Threads, Mini Bubbler on Threads or Vortex Sprayer on Threads

        Drippers for Hanging Baskets

        Any emitter could work for this application. However, there are a few things to consider. First, it is critical to have the emitter centered over the basket. For this we recommend using a rigid riser instead of microtubing (microtubing can curl and place the dripper to the side of the basket). To insert an emitter into a rigid riser, a threaded dripper is needed, so a dripper on 10/32 threads is needed. Secondly, hanging baskets drain very quickly, so a dripper that can emit a lot of water quickly is needed. We have found the perfect dripper to be our adjustable dripper on 10/32 threads. As a bonus, the dripper can be adjusted all the way off if needed.

        Recommended Dripper: 360 Adjustable Dripper on Threads

        Watering Containers

        Watering schedules for plants in containers will be different from those for plants in the ground. The soil most often used in containers is potting soil, and potting soil has little to no capillary action. What this means is that there is very little horizontal movement of the water from the top to the bottom of the container. In addition, plant roots in containers dry out much faster than plant roots that are planted in the ground. We have found that a typical watering schedule for containers will look something like 2–4 times per day for 1–2 minutes each time.
        When choosing an emitter for your containers, you will want to take the above information into consideration. You can use any dripper that we sell, but depending on your choice of emitter, you may need to add additional drippers to ensure good water coverage. You may also need to add a stake to anchor the emitters in place so they do not fall out of the pot. 
        The main goal in choosing an emitter is to get good root zone coverage. This is true regardless of where the plant is planted. As was mentioned previously, potting soil has poor capillary action, so you will only get about a 6” wet pattern from each drip point. If your pot is small, then one button dripper is great, but if your pot is large, you will need to determine how many drip points you will need for good root coverage.
        We sell drip spikes that have a dripper built into the stake, which can translate into real time savings if you have a lot of pots to irrigate. For a container that is 6–8 inches, one dripper should work. For larger pots you may need to place more than one dripper in the container to adequately water the plant. If the pot is very large and has a water hungry-plant inside, then we would recommend one of our adjustable drippers on a stake.

        Balancing a Drip Irrigation System When Using Adjustable Drippers

        One of the largest challenges in setting up a drip irrigation system is balancing the watering requirements of a variety of plants. This can be done one of two ways: you can either create separate watering zones for like plants, or you can select different drip emitters based on the plants’ watering requirements for an area. 
        For example, let’s say you have two plants on the same watering line; one plant requires moderately moist soil, and the other plant requires consistent moisture. In this case we might recommend an emitter such as a .5 GPH (gallons per hour) button dripper for the first plant and an adjustable dripper for the second plant. The button dripper will only deliver the regulated amount, in this case a half a gallon per hour, but the adjustable dripper, depending on the model chosen, could deliver up to 20 GPH. These drippers are fully adjustable by simply twisting the top of the dripper from closed to fully opened and all points in between. 
        Adjustable drippers come in maximum flow rates of 10 and 20 GPH. One word of caution here is that these do eat up a lot of water, so try to use them sparingly, as too many may overtax your system. The end result is that by matching the dripper to the plants’ watering requirements, you are able to better water plants with different watering requirements all on the same line.

        Drip Irrigation Expert Mike

        Written by Mike Ricker | Mike Ricker is always looking for ways to make drip irrigation easier for everyone.  If you found this article useful or have a great tip please pass it on to Mike at: 

        Wednesday, March 19, 2014

        Common Drip Irrigation Mistakes to Avoid

        MARCH 12, 2014

        Using a drip irrigation system in your garden is one of the single most important things that you can do for it. Drip irrigation systems provide the right amount of water exactly where it is needed saving you money and creating stronger, healthier plants. There are some rules to follow when installing a drip irrigation system in your garden to ensure you get the best results; below is a list of things to watch out for when designing and installing your new drip irrigation system.

        Not Enough Emitters

        The most common mistake people make when designing their system is not including enough drip emitters into the plan. Having the proper amount of emitters will ensure that your plants’ root systems are getting the water they need. The more emitters you have, the happier and healthier your plants will be and my having more than one emitter per plant, you eliminate the risk of having a clogged emitter kill off that plant. If you have a smaller plant that only requires one emitter, ensure that you use a clogging disk to prevent this risk. 

        Bad Placement

        Placing your drip emitters too close together or too far apart is another bad move. Placing them evenly will ensure that your plants get the proper amount of water without having areas oversaturated. A good rule of thumb is to place a drip emitter evenly spaced along the plant line and a minimum of six inches from the base of the plant.

        Poor or No Filtration

        Filtered water is best for the overall health of your plants and many drip irrigation systems come with a filter to ensure that you have many years of trouble free use. Using a filter with a mesh screen of at least 155 is best if you want to provide adequate protection to the small orifices of the micro-sprinklers and drippers.

        Incorrect Pressure

        Having adequate pressure is important for any drip irrigation system; without it, your system will fail and your plants will suffer from a lack of water. Too many emitters on a single line will result in a lack of water pressure and this could lead to clogging and inadequate watering. Also use a good pressure regulator to ensure that your drip irrigation system will operate correctly.

        Improper Zoning

        By “Zoning” your drip systems, you are effectively separating plants that have different watering needs from others. Let’s say that you have trees, shrubs and dry climate plants; you will need three separate drip irrigation zones to provide them the water they need without over or under watering.  You can also separate your zones by type of soil and size of plants. There are many ways to properly zone your system and knowing the right way will make all of the difference to your plants.

        Wrong Watering Schedule

        There are no set rules for watering schedules; doing your research and knowing what your plants’ needs are will go a long way in attaining the perfect watering schedule. Don’t assume that a drip irrigation system is a “set it and forget it” type of system; you may have to make periodic and seasonal changes to the watering schedule to get the balance you are looking for. Only you know what your plants need at any given time of the year and a properly installed drip irrigation system will ensure that your plants get the water they need without getting to little or too much.

        Ordering Incompatible Thread Types

        Incompatible thread types can cause leaks, loss of pressure and eventual damage to the entire system. When ordering your new drip irrigation system or parts for your existing system, you want to make sure that you get the right threads that match the threaded parts you already have installed.

         You will have two different types of threaded part: hose thread and pipe thread. Although there are certain parts in the drip irrigation system that have different types of threads, most will use the pipe thread or hose thread and the option of either a male or female fitting. Some basic abbreviations you should know are: 
        • PT = Pipe Thread
        • HT = Hose Thread
        • FPT = Female Pipe Thread
        • MPT = Male Pipe Thread
        • FHT = Female Hose Thread
        • MHT = Male Hose Thread 
        • NPT = National Pipe Thread 
        • GHT = Garden Hose Thread 
        Without using an adapter, there is no way you can mix different thread types. Garden Hose Thread offers a watertight seal using a washer and pressure applied against it whereas National Pipe Thread creates a seal using tightly fitting male and female threads.
        For the above reasons, GHT never needs anything more than hand tightening whereas NPT requires cement, Teflon tape or hand tools to achieve the tight seal.

        Not Knowing the Outside & Inside Diameter of Your Tubing

        There are many different sizes of drip tubing and knowing which size you need is important. Tubing is measured by the inside and outside diameter of the tubing and is very general in designation. You may see some that are labeled ½” poly, ¾” poly, 1” poly and so on. These measurements can relate to differences in size up to 3 different size variations. Keep in mind that not all size will match others of the same rating so caution should be executed when ordering.

        If you plan on purchasing all of your 1/2" poly tubing and fittings from Drip Depot, all 1/2" tubing and fittings carried by us are compatible.
        By following these simple rules and applying them across the design and installation of your system, you will have a drip irrigation system that will provide you with many years of use and worry-free operation. A properly installed drip irrigation system will enable your plants to grow healthy and strong and save you money on watering costs.

          Written by Mike Ricker | Mike Ricker is always looking for ways to make drip irrigation easier for everyone.  If you found this article useful or have a great tip please pass it on to Mike at: 

          Tips for Choosing the Proper Tubing for Your Project

          MARCH 19, 2014

          To select the right tubing for your project, you first have to know what type of tubing you need. Tubing can be broken down into three categories: mainline tubing, mircrotubing, and dripline tubing. Before describing the use of each type of tubing, it is important to first understand the basic rules and limitations of each type. Not adhering to these rules can result in a poorly functioning drip irrigation system.
          Regardless of the type of tubing selected for your project, there are two pieces of information that are critical when selecting tubing: run length and total flow rate. For example, what is the length your longest run of tubing needs to be? How many gallons per hour will your system be requiring? To choose the right tubing for your project, both factors need to be considered, but at this moment, let’s look at each separately

          Maximum Run Length 

          Maximum run length is the longest length for which a certain size of tubing can maintain equal pressure. If the maximum run length is exceeded for a size of tubing, then the pressure supplied to each dripper or watering device will vary, and this can cause strange things to happen (e.g., water shooting out of drippers, no water coming out, etc.). Maximum run length varies for each size of tubing, so knowing how far you need to run tubing before ordering helps to make sure you order the right size for your project.

          Maximum Gallons Per Hour (GPH)

          When selecting the right tubing size for your project, maximum run length is important, but the maximum number of gallons per hour (GPH) that a size of tubing can supply needs to be considered as well. Each size of tubing can only supply a certain number of gallons per hour before pressure loss begins to occur. To find the gallons per hour that you need in your system, you simply add up the output of all the water devices. For example, if your system uses 40 .5-GPH drippers, 20 1-GPH drippers, and 2 adjustable drippers at 10 GPH, the total GPH used is:
          • 40 x .5 GPH drippers = 20 GPH
          • 20 x 1 GPH drippers = 20 GPH
          • 2 x 10 GPH adjustable drippers = 20 GPH
          Add the total for each dripper type (20 + 20 + 20) to give a grand total of 60 GPH

          Maximum Run Length & Maximum Gallons Per Hour (GPH)

          Once you know both of these factors, then it is easy to select the size tubing that best fits your project needs. Take for example, a project that has a maximum run length of 20 feet and a flow requirement of 60 GPH. What tubing could be used? Take a look at this chart:
          Tubing Size Maximum Run Length Maximum GPH Supplied
          1/4" 30 feet 30 GPH
          1/2" 200 feet 200 GPH
          3/4" 480 feet 480 GPH
          1" 960 feet 960 GPH
          You can see that the run length allows for all sizes of tubing to be used, but because the total GPH needed is 60, this eliminates ¼” tubing because 60 GPH is more than double what ¼” tubing can supply (30 GPH). If ¼” tubing were used for this system, it would not function properly.
          Note: If you think you may want to expand your system in the future, it is a good idea to start with one tubing size larger than your run length and gallons per hour supplied require, in order to give you the flexibility to add to your system in the future.

          Frequently Asked Questions About Tubing:
          • What is Mainline Tubing?
          Mainline tubing (a.k.a. supply line tubing) acts as the water supply for your system. Mainline tubing starts at a water source and is then run as needed. Selecting the right size of mainline tubing is important. To choose the right size of mainline tubing, match your maximum run length and total gallons per hour needed with the chart above. Once the mainline is laid out in your system, water devices can be inserted directly into the mainline tubing (picture of tubing dripper) or adapters can be inserted to run micro tubing, tape, or dripline away from mainline tubing to the plants to be watered.
          • What is Micro Tubing?
          Micro tubing is commonly used to describe ¼” tubing. It can be used as mainline tubing, but remember that it cannot be over 30 feet in length or supply more than 30 GPH. This works well for small patio areas, but beyond that microtubing is often used to take drippers or other watering devices from the mainline tubing to the plant to apply water directly to the root zone. A hole punch is used to create a hole in the mainline tubing (½” or greater) where one end of a connector is; the other is connected to a run of ¼” microtubing. (To see how to run microtubing, watch this video.) Even though the micro tubing is not being used as mainline tubing, it still can’t stretch more than 30 feet away from the mainline tubing. Microtubing comes in either poly or vinyl rolls. Below we’ll briefly describe the pros and cons of each
          • The Differences Between Poly and Vinyl Tubing?
          When buying drip irrigation tubing, there is only one size of tubing that requires you to decide between poly or vinyl, and that is ¼” tubing. Vinyl tubing is softer than poly and thus is considered easier to work with.  Poly tubing may be a bit stiffer at first, but it does have some benefits. It withstands UV rays very well and does not expand when heated. Many of our customers in the hotter southern states (Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, etc.) have reported that their vinyl tubing began to pop off of the fittings after about 2–3 years of use. Due to the additives to make vinyl tubing softer, it softens much more than poly in the heat of the sun. This can cause the tubing to slip off the fittings after prolonged exposure to sun. Poly micro tubing is much more resistant to expansion and therefore less likely to come off the fittings or drippers.
          • How to Add to Existing Tubing?
          Unfortunately, in the drip irrigation industry, there are no industry standards regarding tubing. What this means is that tubing products manufactured by different manufacturers will not necessarily be the same size, even if they both say, for example, half inch. When adding to an existing system, it’s important to know the manufacturer of your tubing as well as the inside and outside diameter of the tubing you want to add to. To find out more about compatibility, check out our compatibility guide.
          • What is Dripline Tubing?
          Dripline is tubing that has emitters embedded directly into the tubing at preset spacings and dripper ratings. Dripline tubing can save a lot of time, as there is no need to insert drippers. You simply lay out your dripline and connect to your system. Dripline is available in ½” and ¼” tubing sizes with a limited number of standardized emitter spacings and emitter flow rates.
          Note: The maximum run lengths for dripline still apply (¼” 30 feet & ½” 200 feet). Below is a chart of available dripline and common uses for each

          Tubing Size Maximum Run Length  Available Spacing & Emitter Combinations Common Applications
          1/4" Dripline 30 feet Note: 6" spacing is recommended if soil is sandy or plants are tightly planted next to one another
          • Tree Rings
          • Densely Planted Landscapes
          • Small Gardens
          • Window Boxes
          • Raised Beds
          1/2" Dripline 200 feet
          • Long runs of crops in straight rows
          • Watering Blueberries
          • Watering Grapes in Vineyards

            Written by Mike Ricker | Mike Ricker is always looking for ways to
            make drip irrigation easier for everyone.  If you found this article useful or have a great tip please pass it on to Mike at: 

            Wednesday, March 5, 2014

            Tips for Adding To An Existing Drip Irrigation System

            MARCH 5, 2014

            If you already have a drip irrigation system and you are new to our website, you may be wondering, “Are Drip Depot products compatible with my current drip irrigation system?" That’s a great question. There is little variance in dripper barb sizes.  However, there are no industry standards regarding drip irrigation tubing. Which makes purchasing compatible fittings the most problematic aspect when adding to an existing drip irrigation system.
            How do find compatible fittings? To answer that question you first need to know the inside diameter (ID) and outside diameter (OD) of your tubing. Also knowing the brand and size of your tubing, will ensure that you get the right fittings each time and have less hassle when it comes time to install them and expand your current system.

            How to Find the I.D. and O.D. of Existing Tubing

            Usually you will find these measurements marked somewhere along the tubing exterior or on a tag attached to the tubing. Many tubing manufacturers have their own methods of marking the tubing, you should be able to locate the markings and know what size of tubing you have.
            If you cannot locate the markings on your tubing, be sure to correctly measure both the internal diameter and the external diameter before placing an order.  Knowing the correct size of your existing tubing when ordering new fittings will save you time and money and will allow you to add to your existing system with ease.

            Why are there so many different 1/2" poly tubing sizes? 

            1/2" tubing is the most popular and most manufactured drip irrigation tubing size. There is an excellent chance that your current system utilizes 1/2” tubing.  However, not all tubing manufacturers manufacture their 1/2” tubing to the same specifications as another manufacturer, hence there are no industry standards within the drip irrigation industry.   
            Below is a handy table that offers you some insight into the most popular drip irrigation tubing manufacturers and which Drip Depot fittings will work with each brand and size of 1/2” tubing. If you know the brand, size, and both the inside diameter (ID) and outside diameter (OD) of your current tubing this chart will help you find compatible fittings that will allow you to expand your existing drip irrigation system.  

            1/2" - Tubing Manufacturer Tubing Specifications  Compatible Drip Depot Fittings
            1/2" - O.D. .710" x I.D. .620"
            1/2" - O.D. .700" x I.D .600"
            1/2" - O.D. .630" x I.D. .540"
            1/2" - O.D. .700" x I.D .600"
            1/2" - O.D. .710" x I.D. .620"
            1/2" - O.D. 620" x I.D. .520"
            1/2" - O.D. .700" x I.D .600"
            1/2" - O.D. .710" x I.D. .620"
            1/2" - O.D. .700" x I.D .600"
            1/2" - O.D. .700" x I.D .600"

            1/4” Microtubing

            Right behind 1/2” tubing in popularity is 1/4” tubing.  1/4” tubing is also referred to as micro tubing and is often used to run drippers to plants that are located away from mainline tubing.
            With 1/4" tubing there is not as much variance in size as there is with 1/2" tubing.  However, the key to purchasing compatible fittings is to know whether your 1/4" tubing has an inside diameter (ID) of .250" or an outside diameter (OD) of .250". Tubing with either measurement are both technically 1/4".  However, our barbed 1/4” fittings are compatible with 1/4” tubing that has an inside diameter (ID) of .175" and an outside diameter (OD) of .250".  If your 1/4" has an inside diameter (ID) of .250" then our fittings will be too small and thus not compatible. 
            Below is a handy table that offers you some insight into the most popular drip irrigation microtubing manufacturers and which Drip Depot fittings will work with each brand and size of 1/4” tubing. Again, to properly use the chart you need to know the brand, size, and both the inside diameter (ID) and outside diameter (OD) of your 1/4" tubing. 
            1/4" Tubing Manufacturer Tubing Specifications  Compatible Drip Depot Fittings
            1/4" - O.D. .250" x I.D. .175"
            1/4" - O.D. .250" x I.D. .175"
            1/4" - O.D. .250" x I.D. .175"
            1/4" - O.D. .250" x I.D. .175"
            1/4" - O.D. .250" x I.D. .175"
            1/4" - O.D. .250" x I.D. .175"

            What about 3/4” and 1" Poly Tubing?

            Other tubing sizes like and ¾” and 1” see little variance in size compatibility. 1” tubing is actually standardized throughout the industry.  So we can guarantee that our 1” fittings will work with your tubing and vice versa.  
            Recommended Compatible Fittings:  3/4" Prema-Loc Fittings and 1" Perma-Loc Fittings
              Written by Mike Ricker | Mike Ricker is always looking for ways to make drip irrigation easier for everyone.  If you found this article useful or have a great tip please pass it on to Mike at: