Friday, September 18, 2009

Hot or Not? New Irrigation Products & Native Plants

Super sweet! I was hanging with Chad at Irrigation Equipment Co. and he showed me this cool new doo-hickey that can possibly be a new alternative for the irrigation of native plants! It's a perforated tube that is buried into the ground near your plant and capped off with only the black top showing on the surface of the soil. The tube is filled with gelled water, which permeates into the soil according to evapotranspiration! It gives the soil moisture only when it needs it.

For native gardens that are usually planted with the goal in mind of becoming irrigation independent, this offers a low-waste alternative to using yards of drip tubes for two years only to discover they're riddled with leaks. Also, unlike a drip system, these puppies can be reused. And... no run-off, no evaporation, no water running up your meter! Apparently, the water needs to be replenished every 30 days or so, but in a native garden it would only apply in the summer and early fall. Sounds like a good alternative to me!

What do you think? Hot or not?


  1. I'm skeptical it could be much more than a supplement to irrigation. Is it a variation on P4 or that P4 gel stuff? My thinking is that with new native plants I feel like the most important function of the irrigation is to keep the potting soil from drying out until the plants can get their roots out into the native soil. Water doesn't spread well from native soil into potting soil, so I feel doubtful it would spread well from the tube either. And it seems like it would encourage roots on only one side of the plant unless you used two of them per plant. But, I ain't tried it, so what do I know, eh?

  2. Hi Ryan! From what I can tell about P4, it is not the same thing. It is closer to what you see if you have a hankering to keep pet crickets- they have "solid" water in containers at the pet store so you don't have to change the water everyday. And you're right, you would probably have to double up (or triple up for larger plants) on cylinders to make sure the root ball is balanced. (like drip) And in terms of soil, it replenishes the water in the soil when the existing moisture is used up, but I'm not sure if it performs differently as to type of soil. It's geared mostly for potted plants, but I see potential with using it in native gardens. I'll have to try it and report back!