Congratulations on buying the best porous Leaky Pipe drip irrigation system for your garden.
Planning your Leaky Pipe System
1. To bury or not to bury?
To take full advantage of the Leaky Pipe it is best to bury it with a covering of soil or mulch. The Leaky Pipe will not be crushed by the weight of the soil and roots will not enter the Leaky Pipe through the porous wall. You may find it useful to view our Garden Watering Assembly Plans.
2. How far apart should the Leaky Pipe be spaced?
This will depend on your soil. As a rule, moisture will reach 18 inches (50cm) either side of the pipe. If in doubt run a second line of Leaky Pipe. If your soil is very sandy or gravelly the runs of Leaky Pipe will need to be closer together.
When used in vegetable plots it is advisable to use one run per row of crops like potatoes. Runner beans, broad beans, onions etc. can be grown in a row either side of the Leaky Pipe. Salad crops will be best watered if there are three rows.
3. What is the longest distance I can run a single length of Leaky Pipe?
160ft (50m) feeding from one end. If you wish to run an exceptionally long length of Leaky Pipe, then feed from the centre.
4. Am I restricted to straight lines of Leaky Pipe?
NO. Every garden has its own design and shape, Leaky Pipe is flexible enough to cope with them all. However, when making shapes or patterns, do not leave the Leaky Pipe with a kink, use a fitting.
5. What length of Leaky Pipe can I run at a time?
You will need a stopwatch, bucket, and calculator.
- Measure the quantity of water that comes from your tap for one minute. Important do this at the time of day you wish to water.
- For example, let us say the flow is 3.5 gallons. Multiply 3.5 x 60 to find the flow of water for one hour e.g., 3.5 x 60 = 210.
- Multiply this by 2. E.g., 210 x 2 = 420.
- To ensure pressure is maintained, multiply 420 x 0.75 = 315.
- Therefore, for an output of 3.5 gallons a minute you can run a maximum length of 315 yards of Leaky Pipe at one time.
- What happens on slopes? On gentle slopes no effect should be noticed. However, as slopes increase more water will come out at the base of the stop. We have many customers who use Leaky Pipe on steep slopes (20% +) and find the Leaky Pipe still works efficiently. To ensure adequate watering at the top of the slopes, the pipe might have to run for longer than normal.
It is also good practice to run the Leaky pipe with the slope instead of up and down the slope. Feeding the Leaky Pipe from the centre will also assist.
Installing your Leaky Pipe System
- Lay the Leaky Pipe and Header pipe in the required pattern. Start from the point nearest the water source and ensure there are no kinks or folds in the pipe.
- Ensure the start position for the Leaky Pipe is in the correct place. Cut the header pipe to the required length and attach it to the Leaky Pipe using appropriate 1612 fittings.
- Work your way around the Leaky Pipe Header Pipe, inserting fittings where required, cutting the pipe with sharp pipe cutters, and pushing the fittings into place. The fittings go inside the pipe so that the barbs grip the pipe firmly. Should you wish to change the position of the Leaky Pipe System at a later date, or make repairs, simply cut out the faulty section and replace with new.
- To form a stop, use 12 stop ends on the Leaky pipe.
- Test out turning on the tap and running the water.
- Cover the pipe with soil or mulch. The simplest way to cover is with soil. We have found it useful to use a hoe to draw out a drill. Place the Leaky Pipe in the drill line and cover over with soil.
Operating your Leaky Pipe Garden System
1. When the Leaky Pipe was new water poured out, why is this?
When the Leaky Pipe is manufactured and sent to you, the Leaky Pipe is dry with no water filling the microscopic pores in the wall. All these pores must be filled with water for the pipe to work correctly. The effect of this is that when you first switch on the water supply you get a much higher leak rate than you would normally. As the pipe cures, this excessive watering slowly diminishes and after approximately 8 to 10 hours of use the pipe is working at its normal capacity.
2. How do I know if my Leaky Pipe is working?
If the pipe is buried you will see very little on the surface, but when you dig and expose the Leaky Pipe, it will be leaking with a wet bank of soil all around it. On the surface, especially if the Leaky Pipe is in direct sunlight, a small curing process will take place each time you switch on the system, this will last approximately 15 to 30 minutes. Often when Leaky Pipe is laid on the surface it will appear as though it were dry. Lift the Leaky Pipe and the soil below will be moist; you should notice small droplets of water appearing along the Leaky Pipe.
3. For how long should I run the Leaky Pipe?
This very much depends on the soil, plants, weather, and personal preference. To obtain the best results, it is important to familiarise yourself with the correct watering times. With a well-controlled trickle feed irrigation system, the soil is contained at a constant water status. To ensure that you are applying the correct quantity of water you must check the soil moisture frequently. It should feel cool to the touch and when moulded in your hands should slightly stick together.
The following points will be helpful in deciding the best running times for your garden.
Type of Soil
Clay soil retains moisture therefore horizontal spread of water will be good. With sandy soil, water penetrates downwards faster therefore, runs of Leaky Pipe should be placed closer together to maintain effective cover. As a result, Leaky Pipe systems in sandy soil will need to be operated more frequently, but for shorter periods to avoid over watering.
Sandy soils in dry conditions, Leaky Pipe systems should be run every other day for approximately 2 hours. On clay soil where retention is better, running times should be every 4 to 5 days for approximately 5 hours.
By running your Leaky Pipe system for extended periods, the water will not spread faster or further sideways. The water spread is due to the natural capillary properties of the soil, which will distribute water at its own pace, depending on the proportion of sand, silt, and clay.
All figures are based on applying the equivalent of 1 inch of water every 10 days, but local conditions must also be considered. These guidelines should be regarded as a maximum to encourage good growth and flowering, but dramatic results can still be achieved in shrubs and herbaceous boarders whilst considerably reducing the amount of water applied. Water needs of vegetables will depend on the crop, with fleshy and rapidly growing plants having the greatest needs.
Adjusting the timing due to planting and weather conditions is where the real saving in water can be achieved.
If you think your plants are not getting sufficient water, run the Leaky Pipe for longer. Experience on your own soil is the most important factor. When you dig a hole into the soil, it needs to be damp and cool to the touch.
4. What should I do in Winter?
Leave the Leaky Pipe System in place and drain the header pipe.
1. No water appears to be coming out of the pipe.
Check that the header pipe or leaky pipe are not kinked and there are no obstructions in the pipes.
Remove the stop end and check if water appears. If it does not the system is not fully charged with water. Wait, if only a dribble is seen, water is coming out very slowly.
Check the tap is on and if fitted with an automatic controller it is open.
Lift pipe up and see if coming out from the underside.
If a filter is fitted, is it blocked.
2. Water is coming out very slowly.
There could be insufficient flow or pressure. Increase the pressure flow by opening the tap further.
Are you attempting to run a length of Leaky Pipe that is too long? Check your calculations.
Water at night when greater flow and pressure is available.
3. Water is coming out unevenly along the length of Leaky Pipe.
Trying to run a length of Leaky Pipe which is too long could be the problem. If so, run water from the centre of the feed to both ends.
Leaky pipe could be partially blocked by debris. Undo the end of the Leaky Pipe and flush out at high pressure.
Too high pressure? Fit a pressure regulator.
4. Water comes out in fine jets.
Too much pressure. Turn flow down at tap, it may be necessary to fit a pressure regulator.
If the Leaky Pipe has been accidentally cut or pierced, but out the affected area and replace with new section and join with 1212 straight connector fitting.
5. Fittings come apart.
Too much pressure. Turn flow down at tap or it may be necessary to fit a pressure regulator.
6. Leaky Pipe is only wetting 3 inches either side.
Check under the surface and further out. At 18 inches away from the Leaky Pipe the moisture should be approximately 6 inches down.
7. There is a white deposit on the Leaky Pipe.
This is one of the effects of running the Leaky Pipe on the surface without a covering. It is normally a mixture of ions and calcium that have been deposited as water has evaporated from the surface of the Leaky Pipe. Cover the Leaky Pipe with soil or mulch to reduce evaporation.
These deposits can be removed by rubbing a gloved hand along the pipe whilst water is running.