Month: June 2015

Shrub and Flowerbed Watering Solved

37330_ActionThere are so many different parts of a yard, and many different ways to get the watering needs met.  For lawns, the best is pop up sprinklers, with their great coverage, while for gardens drip can be best option, with pinpoint precision and water savings.

Shrubs and flowerbeds tend to sit somewhere in the middle and can cause a tricky problem of balancing water conservation with getting all the plants the water they need, all while keeping everything looking great.  Orbit offers a wide variety of options for shrub sprinklers and here we’ll talk about the different uses for each.

The first step in placing shrub sprinklers is determining what riser to use.  That will require an understanding of what plants you have and their watering needs.  As plants grow, some get higher, some wider and some both.  Because of this, whatever riser you choose will need to accommodate this growth.  Our adjustable risers let you move the height and with the option of interchangeable nozzles, you can also change the width. 54042_Action

And what nozzle should you choose?  We tend to prefer our adjustable pattern nozzles, just because they let you get the perfect pattern, instead of quarter increments only.  But our brass, plastic and brass/plastic hybrid nozzles are all great as well.  Furthermore, we offer bubblers in both the micro-stream and mushroom pattern.  These can be great for smaller plants that need a little precision.

Also, our risers can be fitted with any of our drip/riser mix manifolds, which give you the ability to add drip lines along with a shrub nozzle.

Keeping Sprinkler Valves Healthy for Better Irrigation Health

57465_1The heart of any underground irrigation system is the valves.  And just like the human heart, if your valves have problems, the rest of the system can suffer.  Luckily there are a handful of simple tips you can follow to make sure your valves stay in top shape.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is ensure your system is winterized properly.  We see more valves broken because the water was not cleared and froze during the winter, than any other problem.  Valves are built to withstand immense water pressures, but frozen water can break even the most ridged materials.  For more tips on how to winterize properly, see our winterization guide.

Next, keep the internals of your valves free of obstructions by ensuring your lines are clean.  Besides large debris like rocks, even small substances like sand or seeds can tear apart valve diaphragms.  If you’re using secondary water, ensure you have a filter before the valve to catch possible obstructions.  You may also want to open your valves (if possible) to clean them out by hand at the end of each season.

Solenoids are another big problem area.  Most problems result because connections from the wiring and the solenoid is not properly sealed and moisture causes shorting out.  If a short happens, the solenoid is dead and will have to be replaced.  Thankfully, it’s not that difficult and solenoids aren’t very expensive.  But still, you can get years, or even decades of use out of a solenoid if it’s properly wired.  Use grease caps to connect wiring, this will keep moisture out.57505_action

Making sure connections are solid is another top tip.  When the valve is connected to the main line and then out to the individual zones, your connections need to be secure otherwise you’ll get leaks over time, which can have a big impact on your water bill.  Orbit offers many solutions, including our PVC-Lock, screw on preassembled manifolds as well as traditional glue together fittings.  When installed correctly, each provides a secure connections.

Finally, part of the overall health of valves is where they’re housed.  A valve box functions like a ribcage for your heart.  An impact resistant box can keep out water, animals that might chew on your wires and prevent being stepped on.  But inside the box is equally important.  Using a few inches of gravel, you’ll be able to prevent muddy buildup, instead allowing any moisture to drain.  This can also mean that if any repairs are necessary, it will be a clean, easy to access environment, which eliminates possibly hours of frustration.

The Right Drip Manifold for the Job

We’ve discussed picking the right drip tubing and the right drip sprinkler in previous posts.  Now, to tie it all together, we’ll discuss how to find the right drip manifold.  Orbit makes numerous manifolds for you to choose from, and each has its advantages, based on the criteria you want to meet.

67025_ActionAt the top of the range is the Apollo 8 manifold.  This manifold can be placed on any ½-inch riser, contains 8 individually adjustable ports and removable filter with pressure compensation.  When the job requires a lot of different drip lines, each with unique flow needs, this is the right manifold for the job.

Along with this we have the Quad manifold, which has four ports.  The flow is adjustable for the sprinkler as a whole (as opposed to each port individually), but it also contains pressure compensation and filter.

If your system is already pressure compensated—either at the valve or further down the line—then there are plenty of simpler options.  We have 2 and 4 port full flow manifolds.  These are great to quickly get drip into the garden. 67050_action

Last, but not least, our riser adapters give you the power of drip while maintaining the option to use a shrub sprayer or sprinkler head on top.  These come in 1 and 4 port options.

Whatever the job you have, Orbit makes the drip manifold for you.  When matched with our tubing and sprinklers, you’re going to have the perfect weapon for saving water and money, while keeping your garden in top shape.