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Best Practices for Residential Drip Irrigation Systems

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Categories: Drip Irrigation Systems

Nobody wants to knowingly waste water, but since over half of a typical household water use is outdoors, a poorly designed irrigation system is usually the cause. But it also stems from planting plants in the wrong locations. Most people don’t really monitor the operation of their drip irrigation system. Most of the time, they based its operation on whether their plants are doing well or not.

Here is a list of common practices that good landscape professionals adhere to. Reading through these may reveal some deficiencies with your own existing system. Not following these points can result in more costly repairs, inefficient irrigation, over watering and higher maintenance.

All irrigation systems must be equipped with a vacuum breaker as required by the Uniform Plumbing Code. These could be above ground atmospheric vacuum breakers that are built into the above ground valves, or it could be a pressure vacuum breaker which is installed before the valves which would then be underground located in a valve box. Above ground valves should not be used in climates where freezing is a concern and exposed PVC pipe is not a good idea either.

A shut off valve should be located along your mainline before the vacuum breaker so you can turn off the irrigation line for repairs while maintaining water for the main house.

Drip systems operate under low pressure, usually 20-30 psi. A pressure reducer is installed after the valve so the pressure going through the drip line and out the emitters is low enough so the fittings don’t blow off. Since there is no glue used as in PVC piping, drip fittings are designed for low pressure water delivery.

Lateral driplines should be placed in pipe sleeves when running under driveways, patios or other surfaces to access planting areas separated by hard surfaces or other hardscape like walls, planters, etc. This allows the piping to be installed in the first place without possibility of getting damaged or bent and allows the piping to be pulled out and replaced later if necessary.

Emitters for each plant should have a separate ¼” tubing connected to the lateral. Do not split off the ¼” tubing to feed more than one shrub since you will be diluting the amount of water than can reach the plant.

Keep the ¼” lines no more than 10 feet long measured from the lateral line. This may require the laterals to be looped or T-fittings inserted to provide relatively close distance to all the shrubs in any particular zone.

Adequately bury the lateral and ¼” tubing. The lateral line should be buried about 6-8″. If it is accidentally cut with a pick or shovel later on, it is easy to repair. Further, since the lateral is after the valve, they are not under pressure except for when the valve is running. ¼” tubing is often not buried deep enough often placed just underneath the gravel cover. ¼” tubing should be buried several inches in the soil so the lines will remain in place and not easily get pulled up from a rake and be exposed.

Avoid relying on hose bibs to locate your irrigation valves. Hose bib connections to a drip line may be manually controlled or you can install a battery operated single station valve. This is not a professional installation especially if the planting design requires multiple zones. For isolated areas cut off from connection to the main system, they can be used provided there is a nearby faucet.

Separate tree zones from shrub zones. This is a very common mistake. Trees ideally need water for a deeper watering (longer duration of watering time) and less frequently compared to shrubs which have more shallow roots.

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Pest Control – How to Kill Cockroaches

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Categories: Pest Control

There are many species of cockroaches in and around your home depending on where you live and what type of weather conditions you have. If you live in an area that is prone to hot weather then you will know what I mean. Cockroaches will live in wet areas of your home such as your kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms. They will only be active at night when you are sleeping in search of food or water.

The best way to eradicate cockroaches from your home is using a professional pest controller who uses a gel bait product that will be applied to all your wet areas. The gel baits are the best way in controlling cockroaches as they will take the bait back to their nesting sites and wipe out the colony.

If you find that you have small cockroaches that are everywhere then a call back will be required to top up the gel bait that has already been eaten. Pest controllers use to just spray an insecticide or use a white dust which obviously leaves a mess behind and can be dangerous for kids being exposed.

Another good tip for treating your home of cockroaches is by sucking them out using your vacuum cleaner before your pest controller comes to treat. This will help keeping the number of cockroaches down and help in eradicating them for good.

It is also good practise to fix any leaking taps in and around your home and wipe up any water droplets in your sinks as the cockroaches will need to move out to find a water source. There are also DIY gel baits you can buy yourself but these types of gel baits are not as good as your pest controllers gel bait he or she uses.

If you are unsure that you have cockroaches simply grab a torch and look up under your sinks. If you see small black sand particles which are cockroach droppings then you will definitely have cockroaches hiding around somewhere. If you see larger cockroaches then they are a lot easier to control by just using safe insecticides being sprayed on all areas in your home including kick boards, drains, cracks and crevices.

The insecticide should last for more then 12 months and you should see dead cockroaches lying around, this means the barrier treatment is doing its job. Try not to clean those areas that were treated just dry sweeping is recommended.