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How deep irrigation lines

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JonB
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2001-04-03          26282


Yesterday I bought 600 feet of 1" PCV pipe (heavy duty) to run water out to my orchard and garden. But how deep do I put the pipe to keep the tractor from breaking it? My tractor weighs 2900 lbs at its heaviest (4100 with loader and mower). My soil is usually hard clay, and shows no imprint from R1 tires, although tracks show when the soil is moist. I need some help on this one. Thanks in advance. JonB

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JeffM
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2001-04-04          26307


Jon, could I ask how much 600' of water line cost you? Believe it or not, my brother-in-law asked me this past weekend how much 500-600 feet of water line would cost. I haven't checked it out for him yet. He wants it to run from my well to his RV on the adjacent lot. Thanks. ....

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David W. Walker
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2001-04-04          26311


I used 1" Poly Pipe, not PVC. You are asking for alot more time and work to run PVC. The Poly (polyeuothane) is flexible and will stand up to freeze much better and is easier to install, and cheaper (100' role for $12 at Menards). I would go from 8-10 inches deep.

Dave ....

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Bird Senter
Join Date: Jun 1999
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2001-04-04          26323


Jon, the weight of the tractor driving across it wouldn't break 1" PVC that's just 3 or 4 inches below the surface, but of course, there may be other factors to consider, like freezing, or accidentally digging it up, etc. Mine are about 12" deep. ....

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How deep irrigation lines

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Roger L.
Join Date: Jun 1999
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2001-04-04          26343


I agree with Bird. The soil arch will support it against the tractor's weight even though it is only a few inches down. You will probably want it deeper than that for other reasons. I also like the poly pipe. Locally the 3/4" diam. and larger come in two or three different weights. For a real bulletproof system you can thread the poly pipe through some of the black plastic corrugated pipe (get the kind without the drain slits) - it is darn near as cheap as the poly pipe. And bury your "pipe within a pipe". This is particularly good where there are lots of rocks. A plastic soda bottle taped to the end of the poly helps in threading, as does straightening the poly out in the hot sun. ....

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How deep irrigation lines

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JonB
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2001-04-05          26361


JeffM, I paid just under $20 for 100 feet. Thanks for all the responses. The irrigation supply store never said a word about polypipe when I asked for help. I also didn't see polypipe at Home Depot, but I could have overlooked it. Fortunately freezing ground (or moving snow) isn't ever a concern in the Sacramento valley, California. One reason I wanted a larger, stiff pipe, was to make sure water pressure was high at the end of the line. I'll be connecting around 14 drip lines plus 6 faucets (just in case I need them later). Next time I'll keep looking until I find the poly pipe. Thanks again. JonB ....

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Roger L.
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2001-04-05          26368


Hard to believe that the poly pipe wasn't there. Are we talking about the same thing? What I am calling poly pipe is black and comes in a roll of 100 or 250 feet. It is fairly stiff and difficult to straighten out. It is also much more durable than PVC. Joints are made with barbed couplers + hose clamps, and the pipe normally requires heating to make the coupler join well. I have two lines of a couple of hundred feet. One PVC and one Poly. They work the same. The pressure idea is interesting, though I don't think you could measure the difference. ....

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How deep irrigation lines

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JonB
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2001-04-08          26489


Well, I finally made it to Home Depot to look for polypipe. I found out I already use it in a small vineyard. It isn't labeled polypipe but the salesperson confirmed it was polypipe, after giving me a "I have no idea what you're talking about" look. He then realized we were standing by it. This is the stuff I'll be running off the PCV pipe. They didn't have "big" polypipe, each one was about the size of a small finger--it looked like four of the largest ones would fit inside the PCV pipe. The irrigation supply store also did not have larger polypipe. But it is good stuff and has worked great for grapes. When completed I'll probably have 1300 to 1500 feet of polypipe running off the PCV, so hopefully the PCV was a good starting point. Since I'd already bought and cut the PCV, I couldn't return it anyway. Thanks for your help and suggestions. I particularly liked the idea of putting drainage pipe around the pipe, especially in more sensitive or critical areas. And I'll be aiming for 8" down. JonB ....

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gary mason
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2001-04-09          26515


Having just run a little over 800' of PVC sch 40 pipe for my irrigation purposes I have a few comments here for your project. First, have you done your calculations for the GPM your going to get out of your 1" pipe? I opted for 1.5" pipe to get the GPM to the heads. There are loses at every joint/elbow/tee/valve and evern over the length of the pipe. Most commercial irr companies use the 1.5" to feed the system. I can get enough GPM to run 5 heads at once thus cutting the time pumping the water 800'. Are you going uphill/downhill?
Poly pipe had some advantages, but if you only get 100' rolls you might as well get the 20' lengths of PVC with the flared ends ready to fit and glue. You can glue almost as fast as you can walk. Getting that poly pipe to unwind can be very time consuming, plus you still have to get those fittings into the ends, plus the cost of the fittings and the SS worm clamps are $1/ea here.
The poly pipe is good if you have a lot of curves/corners to go around. Poly pipe can make a little better turn that PVC.

Deep, is only a concern if you've got to dig it up sometime to repair. (it does happen). I've run over PVC and it doesn't shatter but will flatten out. I'd got 18" in most spots since that's close to the 12" that most the valve boxes/covers are set for.

good luck.
gary ....

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dieseltrctr
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 21 Kansas
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2005-09-16          116530


I work for a landscape co., and just helped today (1st time) with an irrigation installation. They installed some sort of blue poly pipe with a ditch witch vibratory plow. It looked to me like it was only going in about 8". I compacted the soil very well in the areas we had to hand dig. This blue stuff was pretty thick walled and you definitely aren't going to crush it in the soil. Hopefully I can work with this crew some more and learn the ropes. I will try to find the brand name on the pipe tomorrow....it is good stuff. Good luck with your install. ....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4285 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2005-09-17          116549


After going back a reading a few comments about the PVC pipe vs the rolls of pipe. I strongly agree that the standard lengths of schedule 40 lengths of pipe are a better way to go with the exception of running pipe down a well. Standard PVC pipe will become brittle with age and if you are not VERY experienced in pulling the pipe and pump up out of the well casing and maintaining a constant minimum 20' arc in the air with the PVC pipe; you can pretty well bank on broken pieces of well pipe. The rolls of PVC pipe are MUCH more flexible and remain so over the years so that if by chance you must pull up the pump out of the well for replacement or maintenance; there is little to no chance of breaking the pipe. Add to this the fact that the attention that must be paid to the pump safety rope is much less and the roll pipe is a not brainer. Repairing the the broken lengths of standard PVC pipe while pulling the well pump is not that big of a deal but can be a bit time consuming if the pipe becomes particularly brittle. The worst case scenario is that the pvc pipe breaks while pulling up the pump and you have "butter fingers" on the pump safety rope. I haven't lost a pump (knock on wood) but ask me how I know about keeping a constant 20' arc on the pvc pipe and repairing the breaks! Trying to fish the pump of a well after the pipe has broken and the safety rope has snapped is a Murphy's Law disaster! No offense or intended relation Murf! ;O) ....

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How deep irrigation lines

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7154 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2005-09-19          116618


Randy, no offence taken, however I'm afraid the "intended relation" was there loooooong before we became acquainted.

Best of luck. ....

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