To Netafim or Not?
Netafim dripline is great way to efficiently water plants. This photo shows a slope installation, where the rows are spaced further apart. Rows are spaced tighter on flat beds, and the spacing depends on soil type as well. Sandier soils require closer rows.Netafim is half-inch poly tubing with built in emitters every twelve inches. Each emitter is pressure compensating and designed to be clog free. The most common emitter type we use is .9 gallon per hour and .6 gph. We decide the output rate depending on zone size, plant requirement, soil, flow available, etc.The tubing is installed on the soil surface with staples, and mulched over. If the bed is already mulched, we scratch in the tubing a few inches.In order to achieve good coverage and soil saturation, the tubing is laid out in an evenly spaced grid pattern. Depending on the soil type this spacing varies from 12-16″ usually. Netafim is a great way to water dense perennial beds where sprayheads get blocked or grown over. Water is not wasted misting in the air or saturating mulch. It’s also good for high traffic areas where sprayheads get kicked or damaged. Netafim is very durable and low maintenance.
Netafim is NOT a good choice for annual beds, or beds that are constantly dug up, harvested, etc. You would have to be prepared to make many of your own repairs if you plan to dig a lot in these beds. The other reason is that Netafim alone is not going to establish new plants. It works well with plants with established roots. New plants should always be hand watered in for the first few weeks.
Netafim obviously doesn’t work well in rockeries or uneven surfaces where it’s hard to conceal. One of the most common complaints about Netafim is that if it’s not properly buried or stapled, it will come up and be visible.