How to fan out 1/4" tubing to ten 1/8" tubes?

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I want to fan out one 1/4" polyethylene tubing to ten 1/8" tubes. Does anyone have a cheap idea, or cheap and easy?

I have a bunch of John Deer "Spot Spitters" as low as 3.6 GPH.
Since 1/4" OD tubing will provide up to 40 GPH, in theory I could run 11 Spot Spitters off one 1/4" tube.

I don't want to use a lot of Tees and reducing batbs because each will restrict the water flow and drop the pressure.

The Spot Spitters are only 20 cents each, but the fittings cost more than the spitters!
The 1/4" to 1/8" reducing barbs are 15.5 cents each!
I'm paying 30 cents for a 1/4" cross or 19 cents for a 1/4" Tee.

I didn't really want to use seven 1/4" Tees, nested 4 deep, to give eight 1/4" outlets. That's 7 x 19 cents = $1.33.

And nesting four 1/4" crosses two deep to get 9 outlets would cost 4 x 30 = $1.20.

And adapting eight 1/4" tubes down to eight 1/8" tubes would add another 8 x 15.5 = $1.24.

There has to be a cheaper way with less finger pain!

I was thinking of a "double headed octupus" - jamming four 1/8" tubes and one 1/4" tube into each end of a short length of Tygon or flexible PVC tube - keep jamming in more 1/8" tubes until the bigger tube is stretched.

Then force water-resistent glue into the gaps. Do you think that could be made not to leak? And what kind of glue would you use for 10-20 PSI? Silicone caulk? The irrigation mini-tubing is polyethylene, and Tygon might be flexible PVC or polyurethane.

it seems like more work, but more workable, to start with some water-resistent wood or drillable plastic.
Drill a 0.250" hole through the length of it (OD of 1/4" tube is 0.250").
Then drill 8 0.187" cross-holes (OD of 1/8" tubing).
Then glue tubing into snugly-fitting holes and live wwith the turbulence c aused by right-angle turns.

Odd that 1/4" tubing has .250 OD, but 1/8" tubing has 0.125 ID!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I've tried heating 1/4" PE tubing and forcing a very short length over some 1/8" tubing, but it doesn 't look like it will hold any pressure.

I was thinking of trying some waterproof glue. Has anyone tried gluing polyethylene to polyethylene?

Or any other way to adapt 1/4" tubing to 1/8"? The reducing barbs are almost as expensive as the 1/8" Spot Spitters.

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

Not many sorts of glue will stick to poly. MAYBE expanding foam filler sold for ponds. It is expensive, though. Way more than the couple of bucks you are talking about to do it right.

I could see sticking 1/8" tubing into larger (not 1/4") tubing, and being able to force enough 1/8" in deep enough to hold without blocking the flow to the next piece of 1/8" tubing. Maybe about 1/2".
Get some and try it. Poke the smallest possible hole in that larger tubing that you can force the 1/8" into. Cut the 1/8" tubing at an angle to make it easier to force it in. Make sure it is really snug.
Then stand WAY back when you turn on the water! Just in case.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> Poke the smallest possible hole in that larger tubing that you can force the 1/8" into. Cut the 1/8" tubing at an angle to make it easier to force it in.

Oh, "side entry" instead of trying to fill the bore of the big tube. I consdered doing that using thick wall PVC, but didn't think I would get enough surface area of contact to get a good grip. But drtilling in at an angle would give more area of contact.

>> Not many sorts of glue will stick to poly.

Bummer. I didn't want to splurge for PVC glue (and duidn't know if that would grip PE anway. Hmm, I just found one for $5 ... that's a "maybe"

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

PVC cement will not work for poly.
PVC cement is specific to PVC. It is actually more like welding. It softens the PVC and as the softened material (the surface of the pipe and fitting) re-solidifies, it gets glued together.

I think you are setting too low a budget to do what you want to do.

Bite the bullet and do it right. Any sort of half-way, DIY solution will probably fail when you need it most (on vacation during the hottest heat wave...)

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> I think you are setting too low a budget to do what you want to do.

That is true. I want to accomplish as much as possible per dollar.

On the other hand, I haven't found any efficient commercial solution either. I could use lots of 1/4" tubing fanned out with Tees and crosses, then adapt dozens or hundreds of 1/4" tubes to 1/8" tubes with a 16 cent adapter on each.

It seems that there ought to be some reliable cheap solution if I'm creative enough. Also, these spot spitters will work with very low pressure, 15 PSI or even 10 PSI. That should help reliability.

Several web sites agree that solvent-based glues won't work on PE.
Wikipedia and others suggest mechanical fastening or hot-air welding (fusing).

I'm coming to the conclusion that, unless I get clever, these spot spitters are really no cheaper to USE than more expensive sprayers, unless you need stakes with the sprayers.

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

Lets take a giant step backward:

What are you trying to irrigate?

What plants, what size and shape is the planter area, what soil type and any other info that might be relevant.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

More like 'fooling around with drip irrigation to see what I like best and what's cheapest'.

Multiple different areas and applications.

Small yard - mostly bushes - mini spinners.

Multiple small and odd-shaped raised beds - sprayers tend to overspray and dripline mostly seems to water small dots, and is more expensive.

Trays of seedlings - one mini-sprayer covers much too much area

Potted plants - one mini-sprayer covers much too much area and drippers don't seem to wet the whole pot.

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

Why not use drip tubing for the more extensive areas where the tubing can be either laid out in straight lines or curve around the plants. Tech Line has built in drippers that clean themselves every time the water comes on, and is available with several spacings and gallon per hour rates.
For permanent shrub areas it is very reliable. Install it, mulch over it and forget it. When the plants grow they do not block it like they do any spray system.
For areas that you might be digging up seasonally like a vegetable garden Tech line is good because there is a lot less of it, roll it up, turn over the soil, lay it back out. Couple of pins to hold it down. Done.
If you want to add a few sprayers to target some special spot near the Tech Line there are sprayers that are compatible with its flow rate.
Raising the humidity and wetting the leaves can contribute to many fungi.

To answer the 'Drip tubing waters small dots' problem:
1) it is intended to leave it on for several hours. This will deep soak into the soil where the roots are. Look up the patterns water makes as it enters the soil. Yes, there is a small dot at the top, but it spreads out as it soaks in.
2) Mulch. This will keep the soil moisture more even and help the pattern be wider below the soil surface.
3) Remember where the roots of the shrubs are. Deep in the soil, and not next to the trunks. The drip tubing does not have to be, and should not be, right next to the trunks. Need to leave it running long enough to soak in. It should not water the soil surface (that is how weed seeds get started). It is intended to not make a big wet spot on the surface, but to put the water where the roots are.

To answer the 'cost' issue:
Would you rather spend $100 once in 10 years? Alter it only when you want to re-scape the area.
Or $50 every year for 5 years and never get it right. Always have to be monkeying with it?
Buying tons of cheap parts can be fun for a DIY person who wants to tinker with something, but getting it right the first time and not having to worry about it is worth a lot, too.

Potted Plants: Look at the system used in wholesale nurseries. A mainline runs down every other row, and 1/4" tubing goes to each pot. Then there is a type of plug that is about 6" long. One end inserts in the 1/4" tubing and has a groove. The water follows this groove and waters the pot. When the plant is sold the plug is reversed. The other end has the same sort of insert, but no groove. Shuts off the water. The 6" long item sticks into the soil so it stays in the pot when it is watering.
Other option: Run PVC mainline near each area with several containers, then use the Quadra-bubbler or Octo-bubbler to divide the flow for each pot. Then, in the pot put a coil of 1/4" drip tubing. The pressure and flow are regulated by the Quad- or Octo-bubbler, so you get efficient water distribution through the PVC with your full pressure and flow rate to many more areas. You can combine traditional spray heads, too, as long as the run time and frequency are compatible.

For seeding trays I would suggest finding a spray head that you like (fine mist with very complete coverage), then place your trays in that pattern. There are drip and conventional spray heads that spray larger or smaller areas and many shapes, though the rectangular shapes are not perfectly square. Another option is to keep these in shallow trays and fill the trays as needed.
These will probably be on a different line than all the others. Only seedings are likely to need daily water, and will change often.

Cheapest irrigation (other than rain).
Fewest fittings, fewest heads, simplest set up, least pipe, no clogging even with pretty bad water.
Impact heads at each corner of the garden. Each head can cover 30-70' (depending on water pressure and style of head). Water goes all over.
Almost as cheap: Upgrade the heads to stream rotors. The large area that can be covered still keeps the installation costs down, and greatly reduced quantity of fittings and pipe.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Thanks for the detailed answer. It sounds like you have a lot of experience and know what the most practical solutions are. I agree that different applications each have different optimal solutions.

I do like to fiddle. And I'm very cheap. But I will probably eventually persuade myself that the costs can only be pushed very slightly lower than one or another standard installations.

Thanks for introducing me to the Octa-bubbler. That's quite promising, although at $11 for 8 outlets, it's actually a little more expensive than the Spot Spitters plus several fittings per Spitter.

I think the Spot Spitters have more flexibility than the Octa-bubbler, since there are Spitter models for 3.6, 4.8 & 6.3 GPH. Or 9, 13 or 17 GPH! And several spray patterns, like 90 or 160 degrees, and horizontal or "down" spray patterns. The Octa-bubbler (I think) has a fixed flow for each tube, per model, 2, 6, 10 or 20 GPH per tube.

I may not have mentioned that I planned to use the Spot Spitters for a few containers, as well as probably mis-use them to cover some odd shaped small beds. If I mix any sprayers with any dripline on the same valve, the sprayers will have to be VERY low flow rates!

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>> 1/4" tubing goes to each pot. Then there is a type of plug that is about 6" long. One end inserts in the 1/4" tubing and has a groove. The water follows this groove and waters the pot. When the plant is sold the plug is reversed.

That sounds exactly like the low flow rate John Deere Spot Spitters I'm trying to adapt, except that the ones I've found all use 1/8" tubing. I would love to find a 1/4" version and have wished for exactly that many times. Do you have a link to a " version of these "stick" style spitters? I found the John Deere ones for 20 cents each, which made me eager to make them work for me, without spending another 40-60 cents each on fittings.

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re dripline:
>> it is intended to leave it on for several hours.

Then I would have to get two timers, one for the dripline and one for everything else. Right now I'm more inclined to work out some combination of Shrubblers & Spectrums, sprayers, and hopefully Spitters. And 1 (or maybe 2) small spinner(s). I haven't had problems with mold or blight yet.

If you leave dripline outside during the winter, don't the emitters crack if any water is left in them?

>> Yes, there is a small dot at the top, but it spreads out as it soaks in.

I should probably trust that more, and trust the roots to find the water in raised beds. It may be an emotional reaction so far, running the dripline for 30-50 minutes and thinking "that's not working"! Although I'm clearly not using it correctly yet, it seemed that watering an area uniformly was going to be more expensive with "a lot of dripline" compared to "a few sprayers".

>> It should not water the soil surface (that is how weed seeds get started). It is intended to not make a big wet spot on the surface, but to put the water where the roots are

Very good point that I had not realized. What seemed to me like "not working" is actually good design. It reminds me of what we programmers tried to tell the customer when some custom equipment did something seemingly strange. "It's SUPPOSED to do that!"

- - -

>> For seeding trays I would suggest finding a spray head that you like (fine mist with very complete coverage)

I agree, that's where I wound up last fall, although the sprayers I've found so far (other than Spot Spitters) all covered more area than I had seedling trays. I think there will always be over-spray, if every cell is going to be watered.

- - -

Re cheapest, fewest fittings:
>> Impact heads ... rotors

Those are the best fits for large areas and high flow rates (and big droplets). Except for 1 spot, those all throw much too much water and throw too far for my small yard. But I do plan one mini-rotor (Antelco Small Spinner, brown, 0.9 mm orifice, 10 GPH at 29 PSI) where it fits reasonably, next summer. I might use the 20 PSI regulator there, so it doesn't throw quite as far.

I mis-used one of those small spinners last fall, to water a much smaller bed than it was designed for (rapidly), by throttling it back quite a bit. But it needed its own manual off-valve, since it only needed to run very briefly compared to other fittings in that area. Probably 1-2 small sprayers would be a better fit there.

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

Those drip parts that are about 6" long:
When I click on your John Deere link there is a picture of a wholesale grower with boxed trees. Those trees have the sort of fitting I am describing. You cannot see it in the picture, but I see the 1/4" tubing going into each tree. If you go into any irrigation wholesaler (not just a hardware store, go to a place like Ewing, John Deere, Horizon, Watersavers and others) and show them that picture they are the suppliers highly likely to have that sort of fitting.
If it works for wholesale growers, it is reliable, and cost effective- They CANNOT have half their crop fail because of irrigation equipment failure.

Timing drip vs conventional heads, and mixed planting areas:
A. If the valve needs to run longer, but the clock will not go that long, then program a second run cycle the same day, but perhaps a few hours later. This will deep soak the soil where the first run cycle just started doing the job.
B. You need to properly water the neediest plant. If you water only the one that needs it the least, then all the others will be stressed, and could die for lack of water. On the other hand, if you have plants that really need more frequent irrigation combined with plants that prefer more air in the soil, that also is going to be a problem. Certainly having too many 'mixed needs' on one valve is not going to work. Here are some tricks that can ease the problems, and perhaps you can work on some other ideas.

1) Most perennial, longer lived plants need a deep soaking because their roots are down much deeper in the soil than seedlings or annuals. You can encourage deep rooting by deep soaking, mulching and NOT watering when just the surface is a little dry. Wait until it is drier deeper down.
2) Holding the water in the soil, not letting it evaporate, and moderating the soil temperature so the roots are as healthy as possible are 2 of the benefits of mulch. Encouraging soil microorganisms, and keeping the soil healthy are more. Do not walk on the soil. This compacts it, which is bad for many reasons. Use walkways, and add a stepping stone to spread out your weight if there is a spot you need to step on frequently.
3) Spraying the surface of the soil is a great way to get seeds to sprout. Weed seeds, or vegetable seeds. Cover the soil surface to reduce weeds sprouting. Reduce surface water to reduce weeds.
4) Surface rooted plants, many annuals, and a few perennials and shrubs (not many!) are better with more frequent irrigation, but even these can be irrigated less frequently if the soil does not dry out so fast. Mulch.
5) If two areas of the garden seem to need watering at the same frequency, that is, on the same day, then you can use different fittings to deep soak one area and spray the other. You need to make sure that the run time will work for the precipitation rates of the fittings.
6) When you are looking at precipitation rates, remember that a spray head is spraying X gallons per hour over a certain square footage. A drip emitter that is dripping to one spot on the soil is giving all its gallons per hour to a single spot. That might be 1 square foot in silt, a bit wider in clay, or even smaller in sandy soils. Remember the dripper makes a small spot where you see it, but the water spreads out under the soil surface.
Here is another way to think of this:
A spray head that sprays 100 gph over 10 square feet is doing the same as a 10 gph head that drips straight down.
Go ahead and try it. Run the system for half an hour, let any puddles soak in, then go dig it up and LOOK at where the water is getting to under the soil. It will soak in deeper in a sandy soil than in a clay or silt. It will soak in better in a well mulched, loose soil than a compacted soil.

Here is a trick!
You can run 2 (or more) irrigation lines in the same general area of the garden.
One of them can come on fairly frequently, but not water too deep. This will work well for containers, annuals and those shallow rooted shrubs and perennials. Spray heads are good here. Aim them just in the areas where this sort of irrigation is needed. Perhaps the front of the beds, the show places. Often these plants are placed close to each other, and the blanket irrigation is the best way to water them all. When you have just planted the new annuals for the season this one can be timed for daily irrigation, then backed off to whatever is right for those plants. You can also hit this one on a manual cycle to help out in a hot spell.
The second line is for the deeper rooted shrubs and perennials that need the water much deeper. Maybe run this at the back of the beds, where you are not going to plant the annuals (so would not aim the spray system) This would be the infrequent, but long running system. Best if this is not a spray system. Place the emitters where the growing tips of the roots are, not at the trunk of the shrub. This system will have a year-long cycle, and is not turned on and off on a whim. Around here I have my fruit trees on such a system, and deep soak them once a month from May to October, (perhaps one extra cycle in August), off in winter. When it is on it runs for several hours.

I still think that if you want to run 1/8" tubing you are best to connect it to larger tubing, even if you do not use a fitting. The water pressure will have to be kept low, but you probably could stick the 1/8" right into some 1/2" tubing. Run the 1/2" tubing as close as you can to the area you want to serve, for example behind several pots, then stick the 1/8" into the mainline as needed. This would be a very subtle way to water pots, the 1/8" tubing is a lot easier to hide!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> The water pressure will have to be kept low, but you probably could stick the 1/8" right into some 1/2" tubing.

If I keep the pressure low that a 1/8" tube without a barb will hold in 1/2" mainline, then it would hold even better in some screwy DIY fan-out fitting I could improvise. But now that I've learned that the "right" way to "glue" PE is to melt them together, my DIY impulse comes down to "such a fitting should be molded whole from melted PE". And I'm pretty sure I won't ever go that far. (Though "flame welding" sounds interesting!)

At 10 PSI, maybe I could stick with something that looks like it might ALMOST work: nesting the 1/8 tube indside the bore of a 1/4" tube. The "1/8" tube has an 0.187 OD. 1/4" tube has ID around 0.16 or 0.17". I've softened and flared 1/4 tube, then pushed 1/8 tube in as far as I could, but the grip is poor.

If I made a science project of it, I could try to fuse them ... but not even I like fiddling that much. For the price of a second pressure regulator, I could buy a LOT of adapters!

Or were you suggesting running 1/8 tubes direct from 1/2" mainline, using 1/8" barbs? I hadn't considered that.

I would have to run the 1/2 mainline as close to each pot as possible, and might have to buy a second spool of 1/8 tubing, since no-fan-out would mean a lot of full-length 1/8" runs ... one per spitter.

But that might still be cheaper than many 1/4" Tees and Crosses PLUS 1/4-to-1/8 adapters. That might well be the cheapest method - use a lot more 1/8" tubing, somewhat more 1/2" ... but no 1/4". Thank you!

#5 & #6:
I agree that more fittings spaced closer, or higher flow fittings, can deliver different amounts of water per square yard per hour. I started sorting my fittings by gallons per square yard per hour, rather than just GPH.

>> I see the 1/4" tubing going into each tree.

I wish they DID attach directly to 1/4" tubeing. That would have eliminated the original problem. The John Deere Spot Spitters only fit 1/8" tube, not 1/4". Having to adapt the 1/4 tube to 1/8" tube almost doubles the cost (ignoriung the "fan-out" fittings).

I've bought John Deere Spot Spitters from two different distributors and I have both kinds of tubing. Some call the 1/8" stuff "spaghetti tubing".

If you page down in that JD link to where it says "Compatible Tools and Tubing - PE Tubing", you'll see the specs: 0.125 ID x 0.187 OD

1/4" tubing has specs like these:

" Micro Tubing PE 0.250 OD . . . 0.170 ID
" Micro Tubing Vinyl 0.220 OD . . . 0.160 ID

It is odd that 1/8" tuibng is 1/8" ID, but 1/4" tubing has 1/4" OD.

One vendor I bought from is Dripworks. They call them 1/8" Spot Spitters and only sell the short kind (4 3/4" long, horizontal spray). There aqre also medium and tall versions, one of those must be 6".

DW said:
The 1/8" Spot Spitter provides a cone shaped spray pattern with uniform distribution of the water. There is a shut-off plug on the bottom of the stake. The Spot Spitters work with 1/8" tubing and are 4 3/4" long.

The Spot Spitter is installed using a 1/8" transfer barb (18TB) or a reducing transfer barb (14DTB) to connect from the mainline tubing. The 1/8" tubing connects to the Spot Spitter on the peg at the top of the emitter.

P.S. I agree that mulch has many advanatges and is practiclly a necessity. I use a fair amount of coarse bark mulch.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I found another John Deere / Roberts data sheet.

the short Spot Spitter is 2.7" long
standard is 4.8" (That's what I have)
tall is 11.5"

"Short" was only sold in the Horizontal spray pattern at the time of my data sheet.

Also, if I can believe my notes, the shorty has a different set of colors-to-flow-rates than the other two models.

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

That link to Dripworks is the same kind of thing that is in nurseries, but I am sure the tubing is 1/4", not 1/8". I have installed it (mumble... mumble years ago), and handled it just a month ago when I bought some plants for a client.

I have done a totally different project which is where I got the idea to stick the 1/8" tubing directly into the 1/2" main.

Drill a hole in some rigid plastic (a 2 liter bottle cap in fact) that is SMALLER than the tubing I want to use.
Cut a steep angle on the tubing (45* or steeper).
Stick the tubing into the hold in the bottle cap and use needle nose pliers to pull it through.
This will form a tight enough seal to hold gas (CO2) under low pressure.

Here is why I think it might work for you:
a) The 1/2" drip tubing has a bit more give than the bottle cap, so it will be easier to stick the 1/8" tubing into it (especially on a hot day, or if you warm the 1/2" tubing so it will stretch a bit)
b) The 1/8" or 'spaghetti' tubing is a lot more rigid than the material I was using, so you will highly likely be able to stuff it into the small hole. No need to pull it through (which is impossible- no access)
c) You are putting a 'round peg' into a 'round hole' so it will seal much better than trying to stuff several 1/8" tubes into a larger tube.

Yea, it is really weird the way they label tubing with different I.D and O.D. and a different method of figuring out what is what!
I like using the vinyl 1/4" material. Very flexible in cooler weather. Soft enough to crush, though, and cut off the flow.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> That link to Dripworks is the same kind of thing that is in nurseries, but I am sure the tubing is 1/4", not 1/8".
>> I have installed it

Aha! So it exists, but I haven't been able to find it yet. That's good to know. I'll keep my eyes open and nag the guy at Steuber's Distributing.

>> The 1/2" drip tubing has a bit more give than the bottle cap, so it will be easier to stick the 1/8" tubing into it

I agree with that, but didn't think it would be stiff enough to grip the 1/8" tube under 30 PSI or even 20 PSI.

A secondary, minor effect is that if the bottle cap is thinner than the 1/2 tubing wall thichness (0.050"), the bottle cap would have more "bite", like a compression fitting. But maybe not. The main factor would be "stiff bottle cap of type 5 plastic is harder than PE and hence the 1/2 PE tube would slip easier.

Compression fittings have quite a sharp edge that digs into the soft PE, and I thi9nk that helps it grip. When I cut tubing off a compression fitting, the "grip" has dug a groove into the PE.

But you may be right, and I'll have to use up some 1/2" tubing to test.

0.187" OD for 1/8" tubing has 0.0275 sq in cross-sectional area. That X 30 PSI is only 0.8 pounds of force pushing the tube out. It sounds like it would work unless water pressure stretches whatever small hole I drill.

The idea I like best is to use one 1/8" transfer barb (14.5 cents) for each spitter (20 or 25 cents). That is bound to make a tight seal with the 1/2" mainline, and I'll just drill a forest of holes into the mainline right near my containers and small beds. Or I could "spurge" on a 1/4 to 1/8 reducing transfer barbs (15.4 cents), and use my hand-punch that cuts clean 1/4" holes.

Once I got it into my mind that I could run a 1/4 line and then split 6-10 Spitters off that one 1/4" linje (40 GPH) , it never occured to me to go straight from 1/2" to 1/8"!

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

I understand the concerns about whether it will work or not, sticking the 1/8" right into the 1/2", and I can see reasons on both sides of the discussion.
Best to try a bit and see.

Low pressure is going to be the key, I think. I also have seen the groove that is in the tubing when I pull it out of a compression fitting, so I agree there. Still, worth a try.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> Best to try a bit and see.

I totally agree. Thank you for the idea - now I have yet more ways to fiddle, and have been reminded that I am, after all, looking for the PRACTICAL solutions.

Got to remember that!

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

Each of us will have to find our own balance between $, time and interest.
I enjoy DIY projects, but there has to be an end to them. Figure something out, then implement it. Not have to keep returning to fix it over and over again. I like saving $, but I would prefer to spend some to not have to keep on re-doing something that was not done well enough the first time around.

Other people may like having to keep fixing things. They can probably keep on working on the 'save money' part of the equation, and come up with a system that requires the amount of time they are willing to put in for a cheaper price than I could.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Hmmm. If a 1/8" tube will "hold" jammed straight into a 1/2" PE tube with 50 mil wall thickness of SOFT PE, wouldn't it hold even better jammed through a stiff, hard plastic like a bottle cap ("Type 5 plastic ", higher strength than most).

Or maybe not. You pointed out that I should drill the smallest hole possible in the 1/2" tubing ... maybe the resilience of the 1/2" PE wall will "grip" harder than a similar size hole in something hard (like PVC).

I think it comes down to "wasting time" vs. "DIY entertainment".

Now I'm daydreaming about 1/4" compression fittings molded from strong plastic, and molding 6-way or 8-way one-piece fittings for 1/4" and 1/8" tubing ... I assume there must be NO market for such things or they would already be available in DripWorks.

Maybe when I find a distributor for 1/4" Spot Spitters, I'll also find mass-manufactured octopus fittings.

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

A multi-headed reducing connector like you are describing (I can see it right now!) would probably only be useful if the tubing is the same length and the outlet at the same elevation.
Otherwise, by the time it is choked down to that small a tubing and that many small flows and up hill and down, I'll bet the flow is very uneven.

That is why there are quad and octo-bubblers: Each port is pressure compensating so that each line connected to the port gets the same flow, whether it is long or short, or uphill or down.

You can probably make a Tee, or even a couple of Tees work, but not too many, and I would be very careful to make each line as equal as possible. Even the idea of sticking a bunch of tubings into one larger tubing could be made to work, somehow, but you would have to monitor it for several runs to make sure it continues to work.

Probably quite workable at ground level, but if you have a lot of containers on the ground, on tables or benches, up and down stairs, hanging from the patio cover... it would become a night mare. All the water would run out of the lower tubing, and the higher plants would not get what they need.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I agree that elevation is huge factor, especially at low input pressures. Just one foot of "head" is 2.3 PSI.

A few times, I tried to do a little "pressure regulating" by relying on a long run of 1/4" tubing to drop the pressure from 45 to something reasonable, but soon found that was wildly inconvenient. Now I hav e a pressure regulator right at the spigot, and run either 3/4" or 1/2" fairly near anything I want to water. I have not yet needed so much flow that the 1/2" lines lose noticeable pressure.

BTW, that was my original idea (bad idea) for running my 1/8" Spot Spitters from a network of 1/4" lines. At 40 GPH, one 1/4" line could drive 5-7 Spitters without dropping many PSI. The 1/8" lines would be short, and no 1/8" line would have to Tee. I wanted all the 1/4" lines to be near-constant-pressure, not constant-flow.

But it will be simpler if I just snake 1/2" line real near containers and beds where I want to use Spitters. If some Spitters are near ground level and some are 3 feet higher, I might use lower-flow Spitters near ground level to compensate for the 7 PSI pressure drop.

Trumbull, CT(Zone 7a)

Found this on another forum:
Plus the 1/8" lines have a tool that allows you to insert the 1/8" poly into 1/2" poly tube without the need for fittings.

"its not drip, but I use John Deere spot spitters for my container vegetable garden. what I like best about them is that when you pull a container out of production, you just turn the emitter around and plug that tube. one side is the emitter and the other side is a plug. Plus the 1/8" lines have a tool that allows you to insert the 1/8" poly into 1/2" poly tube without the need for fittings. you just push the small tube into the hole and it seals itself."

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> you just push the small tube into the hole and it seals itself."

That would be greater than great - do they mention unusually low pressure? My first guess was that what works at 5 PSI would not work at 20-30 PSI. On the other hand, the John-Deere-advertised Operating Pressure is 15-25 PSI.

Did they list a link or company that sells that tool? I guess I could try drilling different size holes until I find one that doesn't leak or blow out.

Thank you!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Is it this? I assumed that only worked with the 1/8" - 1/4" adapter.

Hole Punch Punch for inserting Spot-Spitter into PE hose 000-HP125 101000005

P.S. "1/8" tubing" has 0.187" OD
Thus a surface area of 0.11 square inches

So the force on a 1/8" tube, tending to pop it out of the mainline, is:around 2.5 pounds.

5 0.55 pounds
10 1.1 pounds
15 1.65
20 2.2 pounds
25 2.75
30 3.3 pounds
45 5 pounds

This message was edited Jun 13, 2013 10:46 AM

Trumbull, CT(Zone 7a)

It is the second post here:

I would imagine that the punch is similar to the one used to put 1/4" fittings
into half inch poly, just the right diameter for the 1/8" hose, and I'd guess
that it is a very tight fit to sort of pinch the 1/8".

I know nothing about them was just curious about those Spot-Spitters so
I searched on them. I didn't see much about how they operate, do you think
I can lie a few down under mulch to sort of drip water?

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Thanks for the link.

UNDER the mulch, it would only water a single spot, like a dripper. It should spread out underground, but if you have fast drainage, it might drain DOWN faster than sideways, and leave the upper few inches dry around the edges.

I like wetting a wider circle on top of the mulch. That way, you can see when or if it plugs, and the whole soil column is wetted. Why do you prefer sub-surface watering?

Spot Spitters might plug more often than a dripper, or plug less often, I'm not sure. But "cleaning" Spot Spitter, once you notice they are plugged, is as easy as pulling the tube off and pushing it back on.

And these Spot Spitters put out much more water than most drippers. I see most drip emitters at 1 -2 GPH, or even 0.25 GPH. These spitters range from 3 to 17 GPH!

I got mine from a local nursery supply place, "Steubers Distributing". 20 cents each.

>> I didn't see much about how they operate

The SpotSpitter sticks into the soil like a stake, with the spray part sticking up.
The ⅛" tube drapes down from above and plugs into a projecting rod on the top of the Spitter.
There is a little "Spray Groove" in that projecting rod that meters the water.

It looks to me as if someone with a Dremel tool and some iron nails or dowels with 0.125+" OD could make these

Here are some GPH estimates at 25 PSI, with some 15 PSI estimates on the right:

@ 20 PSI
3.6 gray - - - (2.4 GPH @ 15 PSI)
4.8 orange - - - (3.6 GPH @ 15 PSI)
6.3 light green - - - (4.8 GPH @ 15 PSI)
9.1 brown
12.6 blue - - - - - (9 GPH @ 15 PSI)
13.2 dark Green
17.4 black

This message was edited Jun 13, 2013 2:39 PM

Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA
Trumbull, CT(Zone 7a)

I've never seen how Spot Spitters operate so now I realize that they'd not be good under the mulch.
I've read and it seems logical to me that watering on the mulch, unless you really flood it, is well, watering the mulch where water on the surface evaporates but also the water soaked into the mulch evaporates and I have to wonder how much actually gets to the plant. They say that mulch reduces the watering requirement by about 50% by keeping the water in.

I see roots up near the surface in small plants, and I've dug up old 20 to 30 year old plants where the huge old roots aim straight for the gutter down spout and are often not very deep. Seems to me that it would be best to water deep if possible. My latest thinking is to push watering spikes through the mulch and just put the drip line into the spikes around the plant. If it overflows then there will be some top watering also:

Trumbull, CT(Zone 7a)

I've only used 1/4" poly coming off the 1/2" main and I think 1/8" line would be better, especially if I can tap right off the 1/2" so that was also an interest here.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> it seems logical to me that watering on the mulch, unless you really flood it, is well, watering the mulch where water on the surface evaporates

That's a key factor. I think the answer is that mulch should be coarse, not fine. If it absorbs water, that's bad. It should be like COARSE bark chunks, where water runs right off and trickls down.

Also, "coarse" lets air into the soil.

Deep wateirng does build long roots, which gives a larger root zone volume, which gives them more resistance to drought.

I THINK what many people urge is intermittent, deep watering. That way, you water so much that it sinks deep. Then you DON'T wtaer again for so long that shallow roots drink the surface layers pretty dry, and have to grow deeper to find what's left. (Of course, some does wick back upwards).

But you need good drainage and good "ventilation" to encourage roots to go deep.

I've also read that many crops prefer thick masses of shallow roots near the surface, and pretty constant soil mositure near the surface (e.g. lettuce and Bbrassicas).

Some people bury soda bottles or pipes pretty deep, with pinholes submerged 3-12 inches. they fill the bottles, and let it drip out deep.

Trumbull, CT(Zone 7a)

I tend to over water when it is on my mind so I agree with the intermittent idea.
I agree with all that you have to say there, I know that wood chips or bark is
better as mulch but I'm not finding a good source here and ended up with the
usual shreded stuff - forgot how much I dislike it. I'll probably just pull it back
from the plants and put a more chunky mulch right at most of the plants.

Yes I've seen the soda bottle idea, looks good but I'd worry about soil getting
into the bottles. I'm thinking of stuffing sponge or coffee filter paper down into
the spikes to try to keep the dirt out.
We discussed it a bit on this thread:

This message was edited Jun 15, 2013 3:34 PM

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

> but I'm not finding a good source here

I know what you mean.

>> I'll probably just pull it back from the plants and put a more chunky mulch right at most of the plants.

I don't know what your soil is like, or how close your roots are to the surface, but my clay would love it if I could scratch some shredded, fibrous stuff into the top few inches.

I hate the thick plastic that some prior owner laid down under a few inches of clay and pebbles, and I've been removing it each time I create a new raised bed. I probably couldn't bring myself to use a layer of "plastic mulch" on the surface for any reason. But I know that some farmers do lay down black plasitc between rows. Would you consider that?

Thanks for the link!

Rawalpindi, Pakistan(Zone 9a)

Chloroform welds PE quite well but do give plastic steel a try also.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I haven't tried that, but everything I read says that PE resists 'all" solvents.

maybe they're just afraid of being sued if someone uses a lot of chloroform in a closed closet and dies.

IF I can get my hands on any, I'll try it.

And also "Plastic Steel".

Rawalpindi, Pakistan(Zone 9a)

Someone or the other in the area must be making Neon signs still. They are the experts.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

??? Polyethylene for neon signs? I thought they needed glass tubing to contain the charged gas (plasma).

Rawalpindi, Pakistan(Zone 9a)

Rick they need a colourful sheet in front of the tubes with charged plasma. You know that sheet which hides the insides and portrays the message to you in full glory. Someone has to do that artwork and we call them neon sign makers. Well they have to stick all sorts of plastic together PP, PC, PE or what ever.

Rawalpindi, Pakistan(Zone 9a)

Anyway with PPR plumbing pipes now in common use, you must have seen the male female heater to weld/fuse two parts together. Example pipe to an elbow or socket. If you have a PPR plumber friend ask him to show you how it is done. I am quite sure you can take the idea and make good use of it.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I know "PVC" (poly vinyl chloride" but not PPR. There are some pluming supply stores near me.

I'm also thinking about using a 10 PSI pressure regulator right on the end of a short piece of 1/2" PE mainline. I wouldn't mind drilling 10 (or 20) holes into that short piece. Then I might weld multiple 1/8" tubes directly to the 1/2" tube.

I'll also try to find chloroform, though it might be tighly controlled since it is toxic.

Trumbull, CT(Zone 7a)

You know people if this didn't work as is there would be complaints from everyone who used it, so it is possible that they worked out the issues and it just "works" without glue or whatever even at 20 to 30 psi.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I think their assumption is that everyone uses as many Tees and crosses and barbed adapters as it takes. However, the Spot Sprayers themselves are so cheap that adding many adapters doubles their cost.

I was hoping to make some 8-way octopi adapters with a chunk of wood or plastic and a hand drill.

But allegedly "you can't glue polyethylene".

The easiest suggestion was to use 1/2" tubing all the way to where the pots are (not step down to several 1/4" tubes for that run)
and then use one 1/8" barb adapter and one run of 1/8" tube from the 1/2" tube to each pot.

I had been thinking of running a few 1/4" tubes, then fanning each one out 4-8 ways.

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