Thursday, February 11, 2016

Buy cheap, buy twice

I'm in Adelaide, South Australia today.

I'm staying is a new, high density residential area where the developer has planted a lot of mature-sized street trees. It would have been an expensive operation when you think there must be a couple of hundred of them.

It was somewhat surprising therefore to go for a walk and see how many of the trees looked like this. (It's the middle of summer here in Australia - these Plane trees should be GREEN.)

I continued on around several blocks, finding much the same wherever I went, until…

I found this.

It explained everything.

This is how these large (200 litre I'm guessing) trees are being watered: a loop of 13mm poly with five tiny weep holes in it*.

And when I say tiny, here's what I mean….

That's my pinky finger by the way!

When you plant mature specimens of this size into a hot, dry climate you need to use large diameter poly (19mm) with several adjustable bubblers per tree, not 13mm with a few "pin holes" in it.

Someone could be up for a hefty tree replacement bill here if they're not careful. And that's going to make the dollars they saved on their cheap irrigation system look like small change.

* Toro Enviro-Drip for use with non-potable water (hence the lilac colour). It has internal, pressure-compensating drippers producing 2 litres per hour. Good product, wrong use of it. It's designed to be used in densely planted areas like landscaped median islands where you would lay it in close-spaced, parallel runs either side of your (small) plants. It's laudable to be looking to use recycled / non-potable water to water trees but if the trees aren't going to survive on it, you've lost before you start.

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