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Does your drip system need cleaning or other maintenance?

Does your drip system need cleaning or other maintenance?

Regular maintenance is the key to keeping a drip-irrigation system in good working order. Depending on the quality of your water, the entire system needs checking at least once during the season.

First locate and open the end caps and flush the main and lateral lines (see photograph above). If caps are buried, leave them above the ground for easy access. Closures vary in design; the cap pictured above can be unscrewed and removed to flush the line; other types open by removing a ring-type closure.

Keeping the filter clean is most important; if your water is high in sediments, inspect it often. Clean the filter or replace it if it's permanently clogged. Three common kinds are pictured at left. The screen washer at lower left might be adequate for small systems where water quality is good, but a hose-threaded or Y filter is more effective and requires less maintenance. If you find a screen washer is clogging every month or two, replace it with one of the larger kinds.

Inspect emitters and microtubing to ensure all are attached to the main lines (they may have been dislodged during planting) and water is flowing through. If it isn't, check to make sure the emitter is turned on (some have a shutoff valve).

If an emitter is permanently clogged, snip it off the microtubing or pull it out of the main line and replace it; if you can't pull it out, install a new one next to the clogged one. Periodically during the season, look to be sure the wetting pattern doesn't change while the system is in use.

Photo: First, flush the lines

Unscrew or open end caps at end of main and lateral lines. Let water run through for several minutes to flush any sediment from system

Photo: Next, clean the filters

Remove filter screens and clean them under running water with a small brush; replace if damaged

Hose-threaded filter attaches to faucet; unscrew line to clean

Turn valve to flush Y filter--or open and clean as above

Pry out screen washer from hose-end connector; clean or replace

Photo: Finally, check the emitters

Uncover emitters if buried; turn on system and make sure water is dripping from each. With water on, clean any that are plugged, or pull out and replace them
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:May 1, 1986
Words:392
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