I am going to be installing a drip irrigation system for my shrubs.
Some sites say to install the lines above the mulch, while others say
below it. I think I'm going to install it below the mulch so that the
lines aren't visible.
My question though is should you install it above or below the
landscaping fabric, or does it matter? I purchased the rainbird drip
irrigation kit, if that matters.
When I put in a drip system for some intense hill side planting I put the
system under the landscape fabric. However....because of previous
experience [learn from the mistakes of others, you won't live long enough to
make them all yourself], when I laid down the fabric (over the lines) I made
sure the emitter was firmly in it's little spike holder thingy and was not
covered with fabric or mulch. Those emitters are easily clogged (even with a
filter in the lines) and I found that over a period of time you need to be
able to not only visually check performance but to be able to pop them off
the lines to clean them out. If they are all covered up how would you be
able to know if they quite dripping?
The theory on putting the system under the mulch, other than aesthetics, is
that it will cut down on evaporation. They don't spray or mist, they drip a
short distance directly into the ground. I don't think evaporation is really
an issue. I almost always turned them on at night or very early morning
anyway. There isn't a problem with disease caused by watering since the
water doesn't hit the plant or splash back up. Cover up the spaghetti of
lines with cloth first, it keeps them from working their way out of the
mulch, but keep their little heads up.
My feeling is that the quicker the water gets into the ground the
better. You may need to check your drip lines (once a year) to make sure
they aren't being blocked. If that is a problem, put it on top.
I've had a drip irrigation system for years. This year, when I tested
it, I found one of the connectors had developed a crack. Since mine is
above the cloth, but under the mulch, replacement of the connector was
simple. Had it been under the fabric, it would have been a lot more
work. Also, over the years, I have made some changes to the landscape,
and have had to add or relocate emitters, which again was easy as the
line was easy to reach under the mulch but above the cloth.
So unless you are certain that nothing will ever break, and that you
will never alter the landscaping, I think keeping the lines easily
accessable is an important consideration.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.