Weather-proof your bowling green (effectively and economically)

Buy Irrigation

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Whatever the UK weather decides to chuck at us, there’s always a need to water your bowls green throughout the season. Your bowls green may need watering whilst your annual maintenance program is underway, or after applying fertilizer, or (if we’re really lucky), during a extended period of sunshine and dry weather.

There are plenty of bowls green watering systems on the market – from using a small sprinkler and hose to an expensive pop-up watering system that waters the bowls green from the perimeter of the area. The simplest and most sophisticated systems each have their advantages and disadvantages.

Here’s our take on them:

The simplest systems using a hose and sprinkler connected to a standard mains water supply are usually used during the day, as the weather is at its warmest. This can be a struggle due to low water pressure and/or because there is just not enough…

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A Non Technical Guide to Drip Irrigation for your Garden

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Drip Irrigation is the most efficient way of applying water to your plants and borders. You can even use it for your lawn (this will be covered in another blog). It applies water directly to the soil at a low rate thus reducing summer evaporation losses, runoff and general water wastage.

So what is it? Well, we could get all technical (its a very sophisticated product) and discuss things like uniformity coefficients etc. However it is basically a plastic tube (brown or black in colour) with a hole punched at pre selected intervals. The secret is that behind the hole… stuck to the inside wall of the pipe is a dripper.

Rainbird landscape drip pipe from Buy Irrigation

Rainbird landscape drip pipe   

This is a moulded plastic (and sometimes rubber or silicon) component that is designed in such a way that  water passes through it to the outlet hole at a constant rate thus watering your garden.

Behind a drip pipe outlet

Behind a drip pipe outlet

The key to any drip pipe is that this rate of application from each hole is constant along the length of the pipe so that your border gets the same amount of water, and your plants grow at an even rate. Also, that the outlet doesn’t get blocked with scale or debris.

To ensure that the drip rate is constant we would suggest a pressure compensating (PC) drip line. The rubber or silicon membrane within the dripper automatically regulates each of the drip outlets along the length of the pipe irrespective of the inlet pressure ensuring that the drip rate is constant. A pressure compensated drip pipe is also the most suited to sloping ground ensuring accurate outlet rates. There are non pressure compensated drip lines available which are a bit cheaper, but it is worth installing a PC product in order to avoid clogging of the drip line firstly ensure the water is clean enough. If there is any risk of contamination install a filter with a mesh smaller than the drip outlet. Also select a dripper with a high degree of resistant to clogging. The plastic moulding is basically a cleverly designed maze that guides the water to the outlet hole. In simple terms the larger the passages of the maze the better the resistance to clogging.

The anatomy of a pressure compensated drip outlet

The anatomy of a pressure compensated drip outlet

In order to avoid clogging of the drip line firstly ensure the water is clean enough. If there is any risk of contamination install a filter with a mesh smaller than the drip outlet. Also select a dripper with a high degree of resistant to clogging. The plastic moulding is basically a cleverly designed maze that guides the water to the outlet hole. In simple terms the larger the passages of the maze the better the resistance to clogging

That’s about as technical as I am going  to get. There are many products on the market with different and specific features that may be applicable to your application but for most, the above is all you need.

The next bit is how you use it. So, you have a border that you want to water. Its one that is suited to drip irrigation…not all borders are. Borders that you are digging over regularly for instance are not ideally suites as ‘those damn pipes’ are always in the way. Measure the width and length of the area to be covered and determine whether you want to water the whole border or just specific areas or specific trees or shrubs.

If you want the water the whole area think about the soil type you have. Is it sandy and free draining at one end of the scale or heavy clay at the other. Most are likely to be somewhere in-between. Of course if the soil is free draining the water will rapidly head through the soil profile downwards. For heavy clay the water will spread more laterally. This will determine the dripper spacings along the pipe and the row spacing across the beds.

How water behaves for different soil types

How water behaves for different soil types

As a general rule we would use a drip pipe with a outlet spaced at 30 to 33 cm apart for most garden applications. Foe a row spacing you would typically use anything from 0.3m to 0.6m apart depending upon the soil type. Without getting very scientific there are exact no rules, it may be a ‘try it and see’ situation. You will certainly see if your spacings are too wide. If in doubt contact Buy Irrigation and we can advise.

Finally before installation check the manufacturers recommended maximum pipe length for one single line. If you exceed this recommendation the even application may be compromised.

Installation is simple, just lay the pipe along he bed at the correct spacing in a grid formation. You can secure the pipe with some soil stakes that dimly clip over the pipe and push into the ground. At the ends use a header pipe again using drip pipe or more commonly plain pipe with no holes and using push in barbed tees, elbows, joiners and end stops connect all together with a single feed from the bed to your water source.

Drip pipe can be laid directly on the soil surface

Drip pipe can be laid directly on the soil surface

You can hide your drip pipe under mulch or just bury it below the soil surface. Both methods with help in spreading the water due to capillary action and contact with the growing medium.

If you want to water a line of trees or a hedge you could just snake one line of pipe along the length. For wider hedges use one at either side of the hedge base.

For vegetables just lay the pipes along the line of your crop

For vegetable gardens lay your drip pipe between the rows

For vegetable gardens lay your drip pipe between the rows

Once you are at your water source, you may choose to install an automatic timer to control the system during the night when most efficient.

Rain Bird ZA-84 battery powered tap mounter controller

Rain Bird ZA-84 battery powered tap mounter controller

Finally, as a general rule, a domestic tap from the water mains will comfortably run a 100m roll of standard drip pipe at 0.33m outlet spacing and a rate of 2.3 litres per hour per outlet. This would mean that you would water a bed 25m long x 2m wide with pipe installed at 0.5m spacing.

So you have bought your pipe got a water timer assembled your system and waiting for the sunshine. A few watering tips to get you started.

  • Water at night to make the best use of your water… the ground and ambient temperature is at its lowest thus reducing any evaporation losses.
  • Firstly establish a wetted growing medium. This may mean you need your watering system on for longer at first. Once the area is dampened you will only need to maintain the ideal growing conditions.
  • Consider wether your border benefit from a single watering for a long duration or multiple irrigation cycles.. If your soil is more clay it may be preferable to water ‘little and often’ to reduce any puddling or runoff. Set your timer (if you have one) accordingly
Drip pipe watering directly on the soil surface

Drip pipe watering directly on the soil surface

Finally, don’t forget to adjust the watering system as the seasons or weather changes. As with your lawn mower, fork, or pruning shears, your drip irrigation system is a tool that needs to be used only when needed. Don’t expect to switch the system on at the start of the year and off at the end without adjustments. You will waste water and have an inefficient system

Happy Planning

Bowled over by automatic watering systems.

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Buy Irrigation bowls green watering systems

A well-designed bowls green watering system produces a consistent, quality playing surface, even in the middle of summer.

So, the bowls season is over. The clubhouse is closed, the seats and scoreboard are cleared away and the green is closed down. It’s time for winter bowls green maintenance to commence, or at the very least be planned for the coming months.

Summer 2013 has been hot and dry for most of us…the best summer for many years. Most of us benefited from long periods of dry weather, and we certainly enjoyed it. Most bowls clubs will have watered their greens at some point during the season. Even without an irrigation system, I bet the hose pipes and sprinklers were switched on to keep the grass alive and keep the green looking and playing it’s best.

Putting a water sprinkler on during the day wastes a heck of a lot of water, as most of the water evaporates skywards due to warmer air and ground temperatures. In fact, as much as 30% of the water applied may be wasted (so not being used to help keep your grass alive) compared to watering your bowls green during the night.

If a standard irrigation sprinkler is set to operate from the mains supply, it may use 800 litres of water during a 60 minute operation time. That may not sound a lot, but if you think that if the irrigation sprinkler is moved around the green 4 times throughout the day, each time running for 1 hour that’s 3,200 litres! With almost 1,000 litres of precious water wasted, and not benefiting the grass on your bowls green. Amazingly, if you water your bowls green every day for 3 weeks, thats over 21,000 litres of wasted water!

Buy irrigation bowls green automatic watering

Enjoying the sunshine (and the bowls) during the 2013 summer.

An automatic bowls green watering system will help to radically reduce water wastage, by watering at night when the ground temperature is at its lowest, the wind speed is reduced, and by applying water evenly across the bowls green surface, will make much better use of this precious resource.

At Buy Irrigation, we hear many different opinions on bowls green irrigation, including the negative ones, like these: “Automatic watering is a waste of time, it puts on too much water”, “Bowls greens should be naturally brown during the summer”, “Watering makes the green too soft”, “Watering promotes disease”.

Ok. Some of these statements may apply to some situations. All of these may be true, for a handful of greens and clubs. But for most clubs, the watering system is an important management tool for the bowls green to attain the required playing surface. Like your mower, if the cutting height is set too low, the grass dies, if you apply too much fertilizer it may damage the playing surface, if you overwater you will damage the green. However, most modern bowls green irrigation systems allow very fine tuning of the system, ensuring this does not need to happen. An automatic bowls green watering system allows you to water your green as often or as little as you like, and allows you to plan your top dressing and fertilizer regimes, without reliance on the good old British weather.

Buy Irrigation bowls green irrigation

Bowls green sprinklers apply water automatically and evenly during the night when most efficient.

No irrigation system is meant to be set at the start of the season and left to look after itself totally throughout the season. Good groundsmen assess the green on a regular basis checking for signs of disease, grass lengths, nutrient requirements, and also how the green is responding to irrigation. Is it too wet? Do the watering times need increasing? Are the sprinklers operating correctly?
There may be times when certain parts of the green need a spot of additional water. An automatic irrigation system works best in conjunction with the skills of the expert who maintains your green.

One thing is certain: installing a well-designed watering system to your bowls green really helps a club apply water efficiently and evenly, at the right time, and reduces the amount of time spent moving sprinklers and hoses during the day, when really it doesn’t work that well.

Buy Irrigation supply bowls watering kits for you to install yourself (with plenty of advice from us if you need it) or we can install for you. If you’d like some advice, specific to your club’s bowls green, give us a call on 08456 808168 or email here.

Well green trees with GreenWell watersavers

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buy-irrigation-greenwell-watersavers

Greenwell watersavers are ideal for looking after newly planted specimen trees.

As our hunger for ‘instant’, more mature gardens develops, garden architects and landscape designers are including larger, more mature specimen trees within their planting schemes. These larger planted trees give make a new garden design look mature, almost instantly.

Careful planting of a mature tree is essential to its survival. Ensuring the soil conditions are right, its aspect is perfect and providing the correct nutrients to ensure it gets a great start.

Regular watering is really important to provide the stress-free environment for a newly planted specimen tree or shrub to thrive. Buy Irrigation’s GreenWell water reservoir allows you to do this more effectively and efficiently, by providing a quick and inexpensive method to apply concentrated water to trees and shrubs.

Greenwell is a water-retaining reservoir that is easily installed around the base of the tree. When watering the tree, the Greenwell reservoir is filled, so concentrating the water to the all-important plant root zone and preventing water run-off.

Developed in Australia, the Greenwell watersaver has been awarded the Smart Approved Watermark, Australia’s water conservation label for products which help save water: http://www.smartwatermark.info

The Greenwell watersaver is installed simply (and very speedily!). The Greenwell unit holds 26 litres of water, and can be moved from tree to tree by unzipping the watertight seal. Greenwell is ideally suited to trees positioned on sloping sites.

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Greenwell watersaver reservoirs are great for:

1. Keeping grass away from tree trunks, preventing damage to the tree from mowers or strimmers.

2. Retaining mulches placed near the base of the specimen tree.

3. Ensuring that applied fertilizer gets directly to the tree root zone, with as little wastage as possible.

Greenwell is also great for commercial landscape schemes and local authority planting.

The Greenwell watersaver can also be used with Buy Irrigation’s Deep Drip watering stakes, further enhancing the efficiency of watering as the water is not only retained around the root zone surface, it is fed directly to the roots via the deep drip stakes.

Your garden’s IIP (Irrigation Insurance Policy).

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Spring: time for the serious gardener to start thinking about irrigation.

Spring: time for the serious gardener to start thinking about irrigation.

So, it’s February already. Christmas over, the snow’s on it’s way soon (hopefully) and any day now the first signs of Spring will appear. Its time to think about planning your garden irrigation scheme for this year.

“What???” I hear you say.

“Irrigation system… it rained most of last year… what do I need an irrigation system for?… Waste of money… it’s drainage I need!”

Low water levels in reservoirs mean UK gardeners are on drought alert.

Low water levels in reservoirs mean UK gardeners are on drought alert.

It may be true. But 2012 was the first year that many of the water companies issued drought restrictions across the UK. Why? Because it was dry, the reservoirs were empty and ground reserves were low.

Cast your mind back before the floods, and it was in fact a very dry spring. The time when your plants and lawns awake to warmer sunshine and start their growing cycle. With no moisture in the ground they don’t grow as well, and suffer for the rest of the year.

All that effort to grow a vegetable crop, only to be lost to drought.

All that effort to grow a vegetable crop, only to be lost to drought.

So, you may need a garden irrigation system after all, and now, when it is still to wet to start your spring garden maintenance, is the time to do a bit of irrigation research. Assess for yourself if an irrigation system could improve your garden and make your life easier.

Springtime planning means you and your garden are ready for whatever Mother Nature has in store.

Springtime planning means your garden’s ready for whatever the weather will bring.

First: don’t be put off because you think it’s too expensive. The images we see on telly of automatic garden and golf course sprinklers in America and warmer climes can be really expensive systems. Here in Blighty, we have a different climate (don’t we know it). UK systems can be specifically targeted to water areas of need (expensive shrubs and trees rather than grass, for example). This reduces the cost making it more realistic. Also, golf course systems use very expensive products.Irrigation products for gardens are inexpensive in comparison. Another thing: forget the irrigation equipment in the fancy packaging at your home or garden centre. Whilst it serves a purpose for some; suprisingly professional irrigation equipment is MUCH cheaper. Some is identical but at fraction of the cost. One example I remember, sold in a well know home and garden store at 5 units for £4.99. Buy Irrigation sells EXACTLY the same product (minus packaging) at just over £1.00 for 5!

Second: don’t think garden irrigation is complicated and technical, it doesn’t need to be. Sure, you should get advice from a seasoned irrigation expert (like us!) to avoid wasting heaps of money. But once you have the facts and knowledge on what products to use, purchase them (from us hopefully) and install them yourself, its not difficult and we’ll ensure you are using the correct items and installing them correctly. After all, we have a reputation to uphold. And, if installing a system is too much for you; employ a specialist contractor for the more technical aspects of the installation (we can often help with this too).

Third: don’t assume an irrigation system uses masses of costly water. If you usually wander around your garden with a hose pipe or portable sprinkler in spring and summer, it’s likely you’ll be using more water than a well-designed irrigation system. Using drip irrigation, or low volume watering products, could actually REDUCE your water bills because it’s much more efficient. Using an automatic controller to water at night minimises any sunshine evaporation losses. Rainwater harvesting, or even your own private water supply, could give you water that will cost virtually nothing apart from set up and running a small pump.

Drip irrigation: an economical part of your garden insurance policy.

Drip irrigation: an economical part of your garden insurance policy.

Finally: don’t always look at the cheapest price for the system. Remember a proper system will be designed to last for many years. After all, it is only used for a small, but necessary, time every year. Most irrigation companies use the same (or very similar) products. Because buyirrigation.co.uk buy in volume, we are competitively priced, but beware a vastly lower price for a job that should be of the same standard. It almost certainly won’t be and corners will have been cut.

If you love your garden, are planning a horticultural project, or thinking about buying expensive specimen plants, shrubs or trees, talk to us about your irrigation insurance policy.

Follow our blog for more articles in the next few weeks, giving tips and advice on drip irrigation, irrigating specialist trees and shrubs and how to have a healthy, green lawn.

Water water everywhere…and not a drop to irrigate.

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Buy Irrigation water storage

Full to the brim…are rain soaked summers the future?

According to recent news, here in the UK we’ve just had the second wettest year on record. Seems a long time since those water bans were put in place earlier in 2012, doesn’t it?

Rusty barbeques and sodden vegetable patches all over Britain attest what a lousy summer we enjoyed, and the rainfall we endured was exceptionally heavy and prolonged. Now, climate experts tell us that we should expect this type of pattern to continue into the future. Woop.

Lovely weather for ducks (or swans). Not so great for greenery though.

Lovely weather for ducks (and swans). Not so great for plants and turf though.

Is this the end for the UK irrigation industry? Are the 100 plus (wild guess there) UK irrigation companies ready to shut the doors and move to warmer climes? I think not. I believe that most will see the climate situation as an opportunity for increased business in challenging times. Adapt and survive, as they say.

While we may see heavier, more frequent heavy downpours of rain throughout summer and winter periods, we will still get warm summers when golf courses, sports fields, plants and lawns require water at specific times during dry periods.

Cancelled games, postponed matches. 2012's rainfall played havoc with sports pitches.

Cancelled games, postponed matches. 2012 rainfall played havoc with sports pitches.

You could argue that a heavy deluge of rain (where most of the water runs off the land into ditches and rivers) is not effective at irrigating the ground, as the soil just can’t physically accept the water quick enough for it to do any good. So, we could therefore assume that more irrigation is required…maybe a little simplistic, but I suspect it contains more than a shred of truth.

Whether we get these high volumes of rainfall or not, water is one of the planet’s most valuable commodities, as the drought situation earlier in 2012 testified. It therefore suggests that if we can store rapid-falling rain for use during a drought, or during dry periods, then we can be self-sufficient. This is absolutely true, however the storage of water can be very expensive because of the quantities required for long-term irrigation purposes.

A bowling green, for instance, or any area of fine turf lawn of a similar size could need a very conservative estimate of 20 cubic meters (4400 gallons) of water for just 1 week of watering (and that’s just half the quantity recommended by turf professionals). That’s a tank measuring 5m long x 2m high x 2m wide…just for 1 week’s water at half a full application.

The same scenario applies to planting areas. Just think how long your water butt lasts if you are using it every day to water your plants or vegetables.

Anyone for sub-aqua golf?

Anyone for golf? Don’t forget to bring your snorkel.

Golf courses, especially, need masses of water to irrigate the course. An 18 hole course could require 250 cubic meters (55000 gallons) just to water the greens over a week in the hottest part of the summer. That’s a very large and expensive storage requirement for any period of time in drought, and to maximise the collected rainfall.

Right now, the challenge for professional irrigation advisors and installers is give the client an irrigation system which, contrary to opinion, will still be valid and useful in the future. An irrigation system which makes the best use of natural resources (the free water falling from the sky), while keeping costs at economic levels. More importantly, to design an irrigation system that uses that water as efficiently as possible, without wastage.

Underground water storage tanks could help you conserve water efficiently.

Underground water storage tanks could help you deliver water efficiently.

Irrigation equipment manufacturers are currently investing millions in the quest to provide the latest highly efficient controllers, sensors and delivery equipment, proven and tested around the globe, to make the best use of the water available.

In summary, even if we continue to get more rainfall, there will be times of the year when you will need to water your garden…golf course…bowling green. So, if you do decide on a system, think about storage of surplus water and remember you’ll need a large storage capacity for long term use, (usually bigger than you think). Don’t consider this storage without thinking about a highly efficient irrigation system. The more efficient the system the longer this storage will last.

Finally, seek professional advice (mine, preferably!). If you don’t feel as though you are getting the right answers, or your needs are not fully covered, try someone else (like me!).

You say Menage, I say Manege…let’s call the whole thing Equestrian Irrigation. (with apologies to George and Ira Gershwin)

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Buy Irrigation's ProRide system for dusty riding arena surfaces.

Outdoor and indoor riding arenas come in many shapes and sizes. Typically, the smallest standard size is a 40m x 20m area, but over the years I have seen arenas of many different shapes and sizes.

A low angle irrigation sprinkler watering an indoor riding school

A low angle irrigation sprinkler watering an indoor riding school

Indoor riding schools can be built to fit an existing building (a barn, for example), and many equestrian menages are constructed in new purpose-built structures with viewing galleries, lighting etc. Outdoor riding arenas also come in a vast range of lengths and widths; some arenas are are fenced, some not.

An example of an outdoor sand-built riding menage

An example of an outdoor sand-built riding menage

The common thread with all arenas is that the surface is constructed of an imported material, usually sand-based, with an addition of a number of different products such as rubber crumb, fibre, wood pulp, textiles and polymers and similar. The addition of these materials helps to create a firm, but cushioned, riding surface that suits most disciplines.

A typical sand-based indoor riding school

A typical sand-based indoor riding school

A big problem however, with indoor AND outdoor surfaces, is the presence of dust; especially throughout the summer months. A dusty riding arena is unpleasant for the rider, the horse…and any one else in the building (if inside). Outside arenas are prone to having their surfaces blown away.

Enter Buy irrigation’s ProRide arena watering system, giving automatic, precise irrigation for indoor and outdoor horse riding surfaces, regardless of their size. The ProRide is designed for DIY. A self-install kit, the automatic watering system is tailored to suit equestrian arena surfaces and can water up to a 30m wide surface from the perimeter. (In fact, we can go wider than this, but the wider the arena, the more expensive the kit to cover from the outside.) For wider surfaces, it is sometimes more cost-effective to cover the majority of the surface from the perimeter and simply place a one or two central sprinklers along the centre line of the surface, for 10 minutes or so, to cover the middle of the riding arean surface.

The Buy Irrigation ProRide system for an outdoor menage

The Buy Irrigation ProRide system for an outdoor menage

The ProRide system is driven by a small water tank and pressure pump, which is usually located near the building, or close by the arena. This provides more than sufficient flow and pressure to operate the water sprinklers (town water mains rarely provide adequate water pressure). From the pump and water tank, sprinklers are installed (usually on the top of the kick boards in an indoor set up or clipped to a fence on an outdoor layout), spaced down each side of the surface. The size of the surface will determine the quantity and type of irrigation sprinklers we supply you. The water sprinklers are then connected to a set of solenoid valves (electric taps) that are open and closed via a small electronic control box. When the valves are opened, the pump automatically starts delivering water to the riding arena surface.

The ProRide irrigation controller

The ProRide irrigation controller

The irrigation controller allows the user to program one or a number of automatic starts throughout the day, so the watering system can operate fully automatically or manually (by simply pressing a button). Either way, the system will stop when watering is complete, so once started you can walk away – knowing the surface has the required amount of water applied.

With the ProRide system, a couple of manual drain points are included, to empty the water from the pipes as protection against the frosty weather (because you won’t need the system during this time).

The ProRide kit is supplied with everything needed to complete the riding arena watering system installation. You will need to connect your water supply to the ball float valve provided for the water tank, and provide 2 x 13 amp plug sockets for the controller and pump. That’s it!

We will deliver the ProRide system to your riding arena after receipt of your deposit (usually 40% of the order value). When we deliver, we’ll spend some time taking the installer through the correct installation method, and explain clearly how the irrigation equipment goes together. This usually just takes a couple of hours. Then we’ll collect the final payment for the system, and leave it with you. In the unlikely event of any problems, questions can be dealt with speedily, by phone or email.

Buy Irrigation's ProRide system gives fine mist spray and even coverage

Buy Irrigation’s ProRide system gives fine mist spray and even coverage

There are many examples of the Buy Irrigation ProRide system around the UK –  indoor and outdoor installations. Please contact me if you’d like further information, or if you have any specific questions.

Save your trees (and save the expense of having to plant new ones)!

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Buy Irrigation: Deep drip tree watering

Buy Irrigation: Deep drip tree watering is simple and effective.

Attention all Landscapers/Garden Designers and buyers of expensive trees and shrubs!
We have just introduced a great product into our irrigation range. Do you, or your clients, invest large sums of money on planting high quality trees? If the anwer’s ‘yes’, then a small investment in these Deep Drip tree watering stakes will pay dividends – now and in the future.

Buy Irrigation: Deep drip tree watering stakes are available in 3 sizes for all sizes of tree.

Buy Irrigation: Deep drip tree watering stakes are available in 3 sizes for all sizes of tree.

Deep Drip tree watering stakes help you to water and fertilize your trees, shrubs and plants at the root, where it really counts. The Deep Drip tree and plant watering system saturates the ground allowing the roots to grow deep and strong. Water goes where it is needed, at the root. The soil is better aerated with oxygen, and your trees avoid horizontal growth of their roots, which results in exposed roots.

Buy Irrigation: Deep drip tree watering stakes can be used with a drip line.

Buy Irrigation: Deep drip tree watering stakes can be used with a drip line.

Buy Irrigation: Deep drip tree watering stakes can be used with a hosepipe.

Buy Irrigation: Deep drip tree watering stakes can be used with a hosepipe.

Deep Drip tree watering stakes also assist water conservation.  The tree watering stake takes water immediately, deep underground, resulting in shorter watering periods. That means little wastage. So that the tree watering you do is both responsible and effective.

Buy Irrigation: Deep drip tree watering stakes are suitable for every size of tree.

Buy Irrigation: Deep drip tree watering stakes are suitable for every size of tree.

The Deep Drip System is designed to work with a garden hose, flood irrigation, with a dripper, and/or in conjunction with your automatic watering system. A standard micro tube fits through the cap of the Deep Drip Stake. Liquid Fertilizer can also be added into the shaft of the stake to direct nutrients to the root zone.

Inserting a drip emitter into a deep drip tree watering stake.

Inserting a drip emitter into a deep drip tree watering stake.

The stakes are constructed of recyclable ABS plastic providing a long lasting and strong product. Multiple holes in the bottom half of the stake, covered by a mesh filter, allow water to flow out and keeps dirt from getting in and clogging the tube. The UV-protected cap acts as a protective, reinforced cover when hammering the tree irrigation stake into the ground. It also keeps rocks and leaves from entering the shaft of the stake and holds the micro tube securely in place. The cap protects the emitter head from squirrels and other animals.

Positioning the deep drip tree watering stake is fast and simple.

Positioning the deep drip tree watering stake is fast and simple.

Buy Irrigation recommend positioning the tree watering stake beneath the outer edge of the tree’s canopy. With two holes at the top of the upper shaft, you can remove and replace the unit. Just insert a screwdriver in the holes, gently twist left and right, then pull up. The Deep Drip tree watering system is incredibly easy to use. Trees and shrubs are more effectively watered, deep at the roots where it matters.

The RHS recommend planting trees between October and April. The inclusion of a Deep Drip tree watering stake will assist in maintaining the health of the tree during those critical early stages of growth.

See the RHS page about planting new trees for further planting information

To purchase deep drip watering stakes, in a choice of 3 sizes suitable for all tree sizes, visit www.buyirrigation.co.uk

Don’t score an own goal with football pitch irrigation.

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September seems to be the month when we get lots of questions about watering football pitches. Here’s my take on what is or is not possible when watering a football pitch (or an area of grass of a similar size).

Let’s take a typical football pitch measuring 105m x 68m (or 7140m squared). To apply 1mm of water over this area requires 7.14 cubic meters of water. Or, 1,570 gallons of water in Imperial measures. Modern playing surfaces typically require a nightly application of 3 – 4 times this, in the hottest weather, to maintain the quality and playability soccer demands. So, this means that an application of up to 28 cubic meters (that’s 6,160 gallons)  of water per night may be required in the height of the summer.

Whilst semi-professional or amateur football may not have the quality of pitch (or the budget) to provide this amount of water there’s still a need for it to maintain the standard of pitch that is required.

It’s a fact that most football clubs have one sort of supply to use for watering. That is a supply that comes from the town water mains. Its is quite likely it is the same supply that supplies the club house and changing rooms and toilets. By the time you need it to water the pitch there is hardly any left. Most typical mains supplies like this provide a maximum of 23 litres (5 gallons) per minute. That’s the flow of a bath tap at a pressure of 30 to 40 psi. So, you can try connecting it to a sprinkler and hose and put it on the pitch. At this flow and pressure you could expect a sprinkler (any manufacturers’) to cover a 25m circle.

Cutting to the chase, a sprinkler doing 23 litres per minute would need to be on for 309 minutes, that’s 5+ hours…just to apply 1mm of water  or 1,215 minutes (over 20 hours) to apply a recommended amount! Not forgetting how many times the sprinkler has to be moved to get the area covered. It will be a minimum of 35 times to get something approaching even coverage. Finally, this doesn’t take into account that watering during the day is inefficient, as water is lost to evaporation, wind etc etc.

From this, you can see that using the system from the mains supply isn’t really a practical solution.

So, what are the alternatives?

Can your water supply can provide 3 cubic meters per hour at a minimum pressure of 5 Bars (that’s 5 bars when 3 cubic meters per hour is flowing from the tap)? If the answer’s no, then you’ll need to consider a water storage tank and pump to provide sufficient flow and pressure to operate a system to cover the pitch.

Pumps come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. A typical pumping arrangement for a football field starts at around £1,500. A suitably sized water tank to store enough water to make the system viable may cost £1,800 upwards. Then you can choose a method of watering that will be both effective and worthwhile.

The Tracker (manufactured by Perot in Germany) machine is designed for the economic irrigation of sports fields. The machine is set to one end of the pitch and a nylon cord is pulled out to the other end. The chord is then staked down with an anchor peg. Then the water is connected to the back of the machine and to a suitable supply and the machine drive engaged. The machine then winds its way along the cord, irrigating as it goes, until it reaches the end where it automatically switches off. Speed of travel can be adjusted so that it applies between 6.5 and 9 litres per square metre. The machine will cover up to a 38m width and can easily cover a 100m distance. Typically, you can cover a football pitch with 2-3 runs. It can take as little as 5 hours to complete 1 run. A typical cost of this machine would be in the region of £1,300, plus hose.

Moving upwards from this, you could purchase a hose reel-type machine where the machine sits at one end of the pitch and the hose with a sprinkler on the end is dragged to the other end. When the water is switched on, the hose automatically winds back on to the drum, switching off when complete. This machine is arguably slightly easier to operate, but usually more expensive, selling at between £2,000 and £5,000 depending on its’ specification and size.

The deluxe would be a pop-up sprinkler system, covering the whole pitch and working totally automatically…this will be covered in my next football-related blog! (Remember to follow us)

In summary, here are the main points to remember:

1 Watering of football pitches is not as simple at it first may seem.

2 Don’t be persuaded to buy lots of equipment to operate from your mains water    supply if the supply’s poor. It won’t work and it will be a waste of money.

3 Look at the facts. The pitch will need a 7,000 litres of water for a 1mm application. In the hottest of weather periods multiply this by at least x3.

4 Be prepared to invest in a decent system. Expect to invest a minimum of £3,000 (excluding the water tank) for a pump and simple irrigation machine.

5 A self-wind hose system may cost between £5,000 – £7,000.

6 Finally, we all know that grass will grow anywhere. What well though out irrigation aims to do is increase the quality, playability and overall standards within football for all.

If you’d like advice on any aspect of irrigating your football pitch or sports field, give me call on 08456 808168 or visit buyirrigation.

Weather-proof your bowling green (effectively and economically)

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Whatever the UK weather decides to chuck at us, there’s always a need to water your bowls green throughout the season. Your bowls green may need watering whilst your annual maintenance program is underway, or after applying fertilizer, or (if we’re really lucky), during a extended period of sunshine and dry weather.

There are plenty of bowls green watering systems on the market – from using a small sprinkler and hose to an expensive pop-up watering system that waters the bowls green from the perimeter of the area. The simplest and most sophisticated systems each have their advantages and disadvantages.

Here’s our take on them:

The simplest systems using a hose and sprinkler connected to a standard mains water supply are usually used during the day, as the weather is at its warmest. This can be a struggle due to low water pressure and/or because there is just not enough water available to cover the green satisfactorily.

Larger sprinkler systems, featuring 4 sprinklers positioned around the bowls green’s perimeter, mean installing large pipework and pumping equipment to get the sprinklers to reach the centre of the green. The water droplets from the sprinklers tend to be large (the sprinklers are delivering more than 10x the flow that comes from a normal water tap and typically at 3 times the pressure). Sometimes, if not managed properly, this can cause compaction and capping problems. These larger bowls green irrigation systems can also be very expensive, putting them way out of financial reach for smaller bowls clubs.

Our ProBowl System provides a solution. Offering a really effective automatic watering system specifically designed for the smaller clubs with matching budgets. The ProBowl irrigation system is designed as a DIY kit; self installation avoiding installing charges, making it a much more realistic financial alternative.

Just like the more expensive bowls green irrigation systems, with the ProBowl watering can be programmed to start during the night (when most effective) and application is very even across the whole area. Power requirements are smaller, pipework is smaller and the whole system is designed to be installed by irrigation ‘amateurs’.

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The kit is delivered to site by one of our engineers, who’ll take the Club’s installation team through the installation procedure, spending as much time as required so the club is completely satisfied (usually a couple of hours). Any questions that arise during the installation can be addressed to the buyirrigation team via email or phone.

With over 20 ProBowl irrigation systems installed around the UK in the last 3 years, there should be an operating ProBowl system somewhere close by, should the Club wish to inspect. Check the map here, to locate the ProBowl system closest to you.