As landscape drip auditing becomes more popular, it is starting to be required by different entities. Audits are also used as a handy maintenance tool, and point out the need for better design, installation, and maintenance of drip irrigation system for water conservation and plant health.
Auditing drip irrigation systems can be challenging, especially on systems due to tubing and emitters buried under mulch, weed barrier, plant roots, plants, and turf. The best time to conduct and audit is during original installation. It's easier and the information can be used in maintenance and scheduling of the drip irrigation system.
A catchment device and pressure gauge are the primary tools necessary to conduct a simple – but accurate -- drip system audit. Photo courtesy: Joseph Fortier.
The auditor should check if there is an appropriate amount of emitters installed around the plant to meet the plant water needs and to develop a sound root system. When installing a new sub-surface drip irrigation system or evaluating an existing system, should check the volume of output, as well as the spacing of the emission points and between the tubing. When evaluating new and existing drip irrigation systems, verify that the system was installed per plans.
The following are the recommended steps to conduct a proper drip irrigation audit. First, locate the irrigation control valve, filter, and pressure regulator (make sure to record the manufacture and model). Check the filter for debris and note flow and pressure information of pressure regulator if marked.
For the last 100 years or more, western states landscapes were typified by two important elements—trees and turfgrasses. Vistas of turfgrass surrounded by canopies of trees were/are the mainstay of large parks, arboreta and estates. Turf and trees are also the prime elements of residential landscapes—a large tree in the front yard lawn is the norm for many of these landscapes.
Although trees growing in turf or nearby are the desired norm in many landscapes, there are problems. Trees often do not establish well or rapidly in turfgrass and turfgrass quality suffers when grown under the dense shade of trees.
Over the years, landscape professionals accommodated both elements by selecting shade-tolerant turfgrasses and turfgrass-tolerant trees. In the last ten years, tree planting became popular as a way to benefit the environment, while turfgrass is being removed from many landscapes because of concerns that it uses too many resources and is contributing to urban pollution.
My hope is that trees and turfgrass will always be iconic landscape elements, and that with a better understanding of their cultural requirements; we can use them in a much more compatible and sustainable ways.
Turfgrass plants that are adapted to grassland environments. Whether perennial or annual, these plants can grow in close proximity to each other, in dense stands and tolerate being clipped or mowed. Turfgrasses have been selected for many varying qualities—greenness, wear tolerance, fine texture, etc.