Securing Irrigation Tubing — Best Practices
Correctly securing irrigation tubing can improve irrigation efficiencies, but poorly secured tubing can damage trees or result in damaged tubing. Cameron Zuber, Research Associate at Merced County Cooperative Extension, recently outlined best practices for securing irrigation tubing.
Irrigation tubing tends to move because of the air and water being transported within or due to changes in hot and cold weather. By securing the tubing, growers can better ensure that the emitters and microsprinklers are distributing water where it is needed most.
When securing irrigation tubing, it’s important to remember that the tubing will contract in cold weather and expand in warm weather. For that reason, it’s important to leave some slack in the tubing so that when the tubing expands in warm weather it does not pull out the securing mechanisms or abrade against the mechanisms and create weak points that will later break. Zuber recommends securing the tubing in winter — when the tubing is most likely contracted — to prevent these problems. Zuber cautions growers that there is “a lot of power in contraction and expansion of irrigation tubing” so it’s very important to provide slack or the system will eventually fail.
In addition, Zuber cautions against using trees to secure tubing. Although this method reduces supply costs, the irrigation tubing can potentially girdle the tree if the lines are wrapped too tight.