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28 Apr 2019

IRRIGATION SYSTEM PROJECT: HOW TO REALIZE AN EFFECTIVE IRRIGATION SYSTEM IN GARDEN DESIGN

Irrigation system has become more and more a fundamental garden design practice, and in many cases essential, in order to achieve quantitative and qualitatively productive outputs to make farm management economically viable. But since irrigation requires large volumes of water, and this becomes increasingly scarce and costly, even in environmental terms, the company’s irrigation management needs to be implemented in order to maximize its efficiency not only by reducing losses but also by optimizing the delivery in terms of fashion, places, times and volumes. Lastly, the company’s management of irrigation should also be implemented at the lowest cost, which at least in our country means mainly with the low use of manpower. All this requires the irrigation system and its exercise, so it is all welcome to contribute to the concrete situation of each farm (culture, climate, soil, quality of water, etc.).The irrigation system is properly designed and directed.

Whether you are going to build an irrigation system for your garden or terrace and want to avoid the mistakes made by most of people and even by some professional installers landscape architects and landscape designers, spend a few minutes reading this blog post by Best Landscape Design and in a short time you will be able to clear your ideas while saving time and money.

Water is the essential element for plant life, so it is good to have in your garden a good irrigation system, effective to irrigate all the plants and flowers in each corner. For this reason, I recommend choosing the layout of the plants already in the early design stages of the outer space, so that an optimal final result can be obtained.

On the market there are several types of sprinklers that irrigate with different angles (90°, 180°, 270°, 360 ° or otherwise). The suggestion is to choose, along with the trusted gardener, the irrigator suitable for each area, according to the plants placed in it.

Water pressure is often the main problem for installing an irrigation system. Before installing it, make sure that there is good water pressure, which must be neither too low nor too high. The plant operator will have to account not only on the available water pressure, but also on the type of water supply, the water and electricity localization, the area exposure, the obstacles and paved areas, the presence of water winds that dry the soil, depressions or depressions of the soil, blooms and tree trunks that do not hit with the jets of water.

An irrigation system can be both automatic (with solenoid valves) or manual (manual taps control). Today, the most preferred one is the automatic one, which allows you to control it through a timer and comes into operation even when you are not home. It should also be said that the automatic irrigation system foresees a diversification for each zone through the solenoid valves that will be connected to the control unit from which the plant will be run (this costs about 1500 €). The operation of the plant at this point is very simple: the control unit will open the solenoid valve (it opens and closes according to the electric impulses it receives from the control unit) which will allow the water pressure to flow to the underground pipes in sequence to the sprinklers.

IRRIGATION SYSTEM: THE WATER FLOW

The serious mistake made is not to measure the water flow of your water supply network or to ignore the water flow of the pump installed in the well or in the reservoir before starting the irrigation system garden. The fundamental element is  not the “water pressure” but “water flow”.

Knowing the water flow is crucial to be able to best configure the irrigation system and manage the division into areas of this.

The first step is to take the measurements of your garden and draw on a sheet the areas to be irrigated, if there are elements that divide your green areas like paths, gazebo etc. into your garden design. Highlights the lawn areas (rainwater irrigation), hedges and flower beds (drop irrigation).

If you are about to build an irrigation system for your garden or terrace and you want to avoid the serious mistake made by 70% of people and even by some professional installers,

spend a few minutes reading this manual and in a short time you will be able to clear your ideas saving time and money.

IRRIGATION SYSTEM: THE SERIOUS ERROR

What is the serious mistake made? It is to not measure the water flow rate of your water network or not to take into account the water flow rate of the pump installed in the well or in the water collection tank, before starting construction of the irrigation system of the garden. We are not talking about “water pressure” but “water flow”.

Why is it so important to know the flow of water? Knowing the flow of water is essential to be able to better configure the irrigation system and manage the division in sectors of this.

Before explaining what it is and how to easily and quickly calculate the water flow of your home, let’s see how to start your work in a concrete way:

1) Take the measurements of your garden and draw on a sheet the areas to be irrigated, if there are elements that divide your green areas (paths, gazebos, etc.) bring them back to your design. Highlight lawn areas (rain irrigation), hedges and flower beds (drip irrigation).

Plan irrigation system

2) The time has come to measure the water flow of your system.

WHAT IS THE WATER FLOW?

Leaving aside the academic explanations that in our case are not helpful, the flow of water that interests us to better realize your irrigation system, is the quantity (liters) of water that comes out in a minute from the head of a pipe.

HOW TO MEASURE THE WATER FLOW OF YOUR HOME

Whether your future irrigation system will be connected directly to the residential network, whether it will be powered by a pump connected to the well or to a tank, if you want to quickly and easily measure the water flow of your water system, what you need to do it’s simply this:

Connect a pipe to the point (tap, tank, well etc.) from where your irrigation system will start. The diameter of the tube should not be less than the diameter of the source tube (from where you take the water).
Go with the head of the pipe in the farthest part of the garden.
Take a container (tank, large bucket, mini tank etc.) and fill it with the pipe you previously brought there.
Open the tap at the most for 1 minute and after a minute, watch how much water has entered the container. If you have a small container, measure for 30 “and multiply the result by 2.
The ideal would be to measure the flow rate of your system at the same time you start irrigation because, in case you use water coming from public or condominium networks, their flow can vary during the day depending on the ‘schedule. We advise you to avoid irrigation during the sunniest hours, the ideal would be at sunset or dawn.

The amount of water that comes into your container in a minute represents the amount of water you need to take into account to make the most of your garden’s irrigation system.
Example – if there are 80 liters of water in your container, it means that the water flow rate of your system is 80 liters per minute (80 l / min)

If, on the other hand, there are 30 liters of water in your container, it means that the water flow of your system is 30 liters per minute (30 l / min) and so on …

A valid alternative to the “container filling” system, it is the instantaneous reading instrument of the flow rate (tachometer). This will also be useful later to keep the water consumption of your garden’s irrigation system under control.

Irrigation system planimetry analysis

In our “Example” we will consider a water flow rate of 35 l / min.

HOW TO MEASURE THE WATER PRESSURE OF YOUR HOME
It is important to underline that, for the design of irrigation systems, the pressure that most interests is not the static pressure (closed system pressure) but the dynamic one, that is, when the plant is working.

Our calculation will only give us an idea of ​​the size of the available pressure, to immediately assess whether the sprinklers chosen are suitable for our plant.

After measuring the water flow of your water system, you can measure the pressure of your system quickly and easily, proceeding like this:

Connect a pressure gauge to the end of the pipe you used to fill the cistern for calculating the water flow. If you want to know how it is done and how much it costs a manometer click here.
Open the water tap as far as it will go and identify the number and the point on which the black gauge on your pressure gauge has been positioned.
The number and the point on which the black pressure gauge hand is positioned represents the pressure of your water system.
Example – if the hand has stopped at number 2 it means that the pressure of your system is 2 bar.

If instead the hand stopped at the number 2.5, it means that the pressure of your system is 2.5 bar and so on …

In our “Example” we will consider a water system pressure equal to 2.2 bar.

3) Choose sprinklers to use for your garden’s irrigation system.

The choice of sprinklers depends on the size of the area to be irrigated:

To cover a distance up to 4m you can use a static irrigator.
To cover a distance from 4 to 9.5m you can use a dynamic sprinkler. 
To cover a distance of 4.9 to 14m you can use a dynamic sprinkler. 
in our “Example” we will use dynamic sprinklers for area A  and static sprinklers for area B:

project-plant-watering garden-irrigation

17 Jul 2018

Adiantum (Polypodiaceae)

The name derives from the Greek “dry” adíantos, used by Theophrastus in the Historia plantarum, probably to mean that the water flows on the fronds whose lamina does not absorb it (hence its need for constant atmospheric humidity). The Adiantum is widespread all over the world, especially in tropical and sub-tropical countries, but some are spontaneous even in very cold regions. They are rhizomatous ferns, with pinnate, simple or compound leaves that extend into many species in the characteristic fan shape. There are more than 100 species with many varieties.

Adiantum capillus veneris: the common maidenhair known for the elegance of its leaves.
Adiantum capillus veneris: the common maidenhair known for the elegance of its leaves.

Rustic cultivated species:

A. capillus veneris, the real maidenhair, spontaneous in almost all of Europe, has fronds that can reach 50 cm in length; exists in several varieties including Adiantum imbricatum, more compact, from the leaves deeply lobed and almost imbricate. This species, particularly useful in caves, natural or artificial, rocky edges of fountains in shady places, crevasses in shaded and constantly humid walls, grows practically on any substrate and often on a minimum amount of soil or mud also accumulated by chance. Adiantum pedatum, native of North America, natural, with long leaves and thick leaves, joined to the rachis by a very short petiole. Also of this species there are different varieties.

Non-rusticated cultivated species:

all these species require a minimum winter temperature of about 15 ° C, but always combined with a very strong humidity; they are therefore suitable for greenhouses where this moisture can be maintained and it is almost impossible to keep them in the apartment. Adiantum caudatum, a small species with simple feathered, gray-green, hanging fronds, which can be grown in vases or suspended baskets and whose greatest particularity consists in being “viviparous”, that is, in forming on the tip of the old fronds small tufts of leaves that emit root and can be used for multiplication. A. cuneatum, originally from Brazil, the most commonly used species for commercial purposes as a pot plant. There are a large number of varieties and cultivars, including dissectum, elegans, gracillimum. In general, given the impossibility of a description, it can be said that the more the variety is made up of light, feathery, septenate fronds, etc., the more difficult it is to cultivate it; A. tenerum, another widely commercial species, with many varieties, which has the particularity of having young pink or bronzed vegetations until the frond is developed. More resistant than the cuneatum, the Adiantum tenerum scutum roseum; more delicate, but splendid, the Adiantum tenerum farleyense.

Cultivation:

the ferns reproduce by spores that should be seeded on an absolutely sterile substratum always kept humid at a temperature of about 18 ° C. The resulting seedlings should be repotted as soon as possible in small tufts of 3 or 5 seedlings, in terrines with fibrous ground and moist fertilizer but with good drainage, until they have grown enough to put them in separate jars. However, if this method with all the relevant precautions is used for commercial production, the simplest way to multiply a few plants is to divide the tufts, taking care that each new plant has at least one piece of rhizome. The soil must be composed of fibrous earth, peat, and earth of leaves with a little sand and some fragments of softwood charcoal. The moisture content of the mixture must be continuous but not excessive to prevent rotting and atmospheric humidity always ensured.

16 Jul 2018

Actinidia (Actinidiaceae)

The name aeriva from the Greek aktís «ray» alluding to the radiated stigmas of the female flower.

Variegations in the elegant foliage of Actinidia kolomikta, appreciated especially for sweet fruits, rich in vitamin C.
Variegations in the elegant foliage of Actinidia kolomikta, appreciated especially for sweet fruits, rich in vitamin C.

Cultivated species of Actinidia:

the genus Actinidia includes more than thirty Asian lianose species, almost always ornamental; only two or three of these are here and there in the Italian gardens; there. witty is the most vigorous; it has large glossy leaves and greenish white flowers at the beginning of summer; Actinidia kolomikta is appreciated for the beautiful leaves, the sarmentose bearing and the sweet fruits that the Russians call “Amur grape-thorns”; this species has the characteristic of exciting cats, rather than the nepeta, the valerian and the liatris, all endowed with this curious prerogative; Actinidia polygama, on the other hand, is characterized by the silvery leaves present in the still young male specimens. It is not hazardous to foresee a greater diffusion of the. chinensis. This species, in addition to making use of an interesting, wide foliage enlivened by a reddish down on the petioles and young vegetations, produces, in autumn, more or less cylindrical fruits (about 7 x 4 cm) with a very pleasant taste comparable to that of grapes plug. The dual characteristic of ornamental and fruiting plants should already be sufficient elements to arouse the interest of gardeners, but the list of the qualities of the. chinensis is still full of surprises. Among the most appreciated, we find the great vegetative vigor (the sarments can exceed ten meters in length) and the adaptability of the plant to very different climates; in fact, during a period of vegetative rest, the plant – devoid of foliage – survives intense frosts (it can only suffer damage from late frosts), while we see it thrive equally well in the warm climate of New Zealand. These valid characteristics are very small compared to the high doses of vitamin C present in mature fruits. In places with harsh winters, the harvest coincides with the fall of the leaves; the product is then repaired in a cool room (from + 2 ° C to + 5 ° C); to avoid the dispersion of moisture and the consequent wrinkling, the fruits are placed in plastic or “Kraft” paper bags. Consumption may take place during the winter. In areas where frosts are rare and of very short duration, fruits can remain advantageously on the plant and harvesting can take place between December and February. The first fruiting is irrelevant in quantity and size; after another three years, the production will reach 25 kilograms per plant (about 500 fruits); after the 15th year, you can also touch 100 kilograms with an average yield per hectare of 25 tons and more.

Cultivation:

the male and female flowers are present in distinct plants; this characteristic prevents a plant grown in isolation from being able to bear fruit. It is essential to place at least a plant with female flowers (receptive of pollen) and a male plant (providing pollen). In the case of income crops, it is necessary and sufficient to cultivate a male specimen in the immediate vicinity of ten to twelve female plants, as the pollen is produced with extraordinary abundance and numerous insects ensure fertilization. The distance between one plant and another – at the plant – will be about three meters. Full sun exposures in hot regions are to be avoided. Perhaps the most felt among the few needs of the. it is that of fresh soil, even and especially in the summer. That said, all the elements considered here suggest that the A. can find ideal conditions of life in almost all Italian regions.

15 Jul 2018

Aconitum (Ranunculaceae)

The name derives from the Greek akòniton “poisonous plant”. The genus includes evergreen perennials originating from the northern hemisphere, some indigenous in Italy, with variously lobed leaves, laciniate or palmitoleate, showy flowers in the form of a helmet grouped in spikes, roots more or less tuberized, very poisonous, like the whole plant. Some alkaloids are extracted from them, the main one being aconitin, scarcely used even in medicine because of the very high toxicity; the most frequent use is in anti-neuralgic drugs, but care should be taken with the doses for the products containing it.

The intense violet blue characterizes the cluster inflorescences of the conitum carmichaelii.
The intense violet blue characterizes the cluster inflorescences of the conitum carmichaelii.

Cultivated species of Aconitum:

A. carmichaelii (about 1 meter), violet-blue flowers in late summer and autumn; Aconitum napellus (cm 50 – m 1), the most important and one of the most poisonous, especially in large tubers, aboriginal and very frequent on the Alps and the Pre-Alps, blue or purple flowers in July and August; there are many varieties with white and pink flowers and many cultivars have been taken from them; Aconitum variegatum, with flowers often variegated in white and light blue, spontaneous on the Alps and in the northern part of the Apennines up to Tuscany.

Cultivation:

the Aconitum, or rather its cultivated varieties, are suitable plants to be used in semi-shady gardens in cool places; they require permeable and porous soil and form beautiful spots of color. It is multiplied by division of the tufts in spring, it can also be sown, but the germination is slow.

14 Jul 2018

Achimenes (Gesneriaceae)

From the Greek alpha privative and cheimino “I’m in the cold” to indicate that it is too delicate plants to withstand low temperatures. Perennials, rhizomatous, with short-stemmed flowers, long tubular corolla and 5 brightly colored petals. They are native to Central and South America and can not withstand temperatures below 13-16 ° C. The rhizomes are small, scaly (each flake is a modified leaf) and need a fairly long winter rest, completely dry in a warm place, to avoid any danger of rotting. A lot of light, never direct sun.

The cultivation of the delicate Achimenes requires careful care.
The cultivation of the delicate Achimenes requires careful care.

Cultivated species Achimenes:

A. coccinea, with small scarlet flowers; A. longiflora, the type species native to Guatemala, has purple flowers, but many hybrids of these two species have been produced by crossing them between themselves and the A. grandiflora and the A. tubiflora, producing cultivars with flowers ranging from purple to pink, to white, to red in every shade. The seeds are in fact usually sold “in mixture” and so are the rhizomes.

Cultivation:

despite being greenhouse plants, in central-southern Italy, they are also used in the garden and can also be grown in the apartment, provided that the brightness needed for the flowering can be provided; their height varies from 20 to 60 cm, so the taller species will need supports appropriately arranged in the vase. The rhizomes are put into cultivation in February, in pots or terrines, about 6 cm deep in a soil composed of fibrous earth, peat and leaves earth, to which will be added sand or agri-perlite, at about 18 ° C and the waterings will have to be moderated at first, until growth has begun, to gradually increase them. It is important, however, that the vase has an excellent drainage. The repotting, if you want to do, can be done when the plants have reached 5 cm, depending on more or less vigorous growth, so as to obtain a uniform height. After flowering the waterings will be gradually thinned out until complete cessation, the dried stems cut and the tubers left in dry rest until the following February, either by removing them and placing them in dry peat, either leaving them in their pot. The multiplication is carried out by seed, in March, at a temperature of 21-27 ° C, or in open by cuttings of shoots that will easily root.