The drip line, or drip tubing, is that essential component of a drip system that winds its way through the landscape, slowly watering plants as it goes. Some drip lines are designed differently from others. A common type preferred by many homeowners is non-porous, black polyethylene tubing. This type of line will come with hole-punches so that you can place emitters in the exact spot desired.
In the beginning the drip line should be attached to (possibly with an adaptor) a filter, pressure regulator, and backflow preventer before connecting to the hose bib. The filter makes sure that the water is clean enough for the hose -- emitters have very small holes that can get clogged even by the small things in a city water system. The pressure regulator ensures that pressure remains constant, even if the mainline pressure should fluctuate. A backflow preventer is absolutely necessary to prevent, in the case of clogging, contaminants in the soil from making back into your water supply.
Drip lines are not infinite in length, nor does the hard tubing turn corners very well. Therefore a series of fittings may be necessary, including straight, elbow (90 degree) Tee to split direction and an end fitting or cap to close the system. The tubing itself comes in a variety of diameters with 1/2 inch being the most common, although other common sizes include 1/4, 3/8, and 5/8 depending on the manufacturer. Bear in mind that drip lines are often measured in metric terms, but the most important thing to remember is to get fittings and adaptors that work with your line.
Because polyethylene drip lines are, for one, unsightly, and can be damaged from the sun it may be best to hide them under a layer of mulch. Although some rodents (moles, mice, etc.) sometimes confuse drip lines with a delicious snack (so definitely DO NOT bury it in the soil). When the drip line is set up, be sure to flush the system to remove any debris resulting from installation before capping the end.
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