Drip Irrigation – Trees

How to irrigate trees (and how not)

People ask me about their irrigation system installation quite often. Usually, it’s the “should this be done this way?” kind of questions.  As a long time repair technician I could tell you several stories but one of my favorites is one from my first employer.  His first irrigation job was at the University of North Texas on the grounds team.  He mentioned to me that when an oddball item was dug up and repaired, it was put on a plaque and given a funny Latin name. In keeping with this tradition, I give to you (forgive the photo quality): 

Tubus Strangulo Maximus

This photo was taken before I corrected a commonly used technique of drip installation.  The idea is noble, that by wrapping enough length of tubing around the tree, enough of the emitters in the tube will be present to give water to the tree.  In theory, this is correct. In practice, however, the tree grows and chokes itself off of its own water supply. The solution is to place one large emitter nearby the tree trunk, not on the tree trunk.