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How far to sink ag pipe to water fruit trees

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    Sorry if this topic’s been covered elsewhere, couldn’t find what I needed in a search. I’m about to head to the rural supplies to get ag pipe & need to work out how much to get. I am going to drill down near each fruit tree to put in 75mm ag pipe to water them. How far down should I put the pipe? Is 45-50cm deep enough? We hit clay after about 30cm down.

    Also, is it worth putting water crystals in the pipe so we can space out the watering? Will ag pipe crush over time? Would gravel in the bottom of the pipe help it stay open down there?

    We’re in the Adelaide Hills. The trees have been in nearly 18 months. Yeah, I know I should have done it when I planted them. :blush: I’ll drill about 50-60cm out from the trunks & cross my fingers I don’t hit any roots.


    And another question – what’s a good all round health tonic I can put down there to help boost the trees? I haven’t fed them at all this year yet.


    Really? Nobody?


    I don’t know BV. It would depend on how quickly the surrounding soil absorbs the water. I imagine if they are in clay then the water would pool in the pipes and not do much.

    So I’d say going any deeper than the top of the clay layer would be a waste of time. I just think that the amount of water the pipe would hold would not be enough to water a tree unless it soaked into the soil very quickly and you are able to tip heaps in.

    I don’t think water crystals in the pipe would do much either. They’d be better in the soil.

    This is all my opinion and I could quite easily be wrong. What do others think?

    As far as tonics go, I always hear about seaweed extract as a good tree tonic…


    Thanks Steve. I was thinking of throwing a handful or two of gypsum down each hole too, to help improve soakage.


    I think it would be a fairly pointless exercise, you would need several around a tree, but mainly cos most fruit trees are shallow rooted, especially citrus, and you would be bypassing the roots.

    Much better to use the time and expense putting a nice thick layer of mulch to just out past the dripline, this will feed the tree as well as keep moist.


    I have heard of someone sinking a container (barrel) with holes in it so that you can fill it up with a fair amount of water to seep out as the soil accepts it. I have not tried this myself but are also looking into similar methods as my soil is very much clay/rock… This would mean digging a bigger hole and my worry with it is that all the roots may just end up doing to the source and block the holes. May require more research… ok not sure that I helped at all. Would love to know what you end up doing and how it works down the track.


    I’ve seen drippers or soaker hose in the shops that you connect to a bucket. I’d imagine this would be more effective. Just have the drippers/hose on the surface under a layer of mulch, fill the bucket and leave it to do its thing.


    Steve I have never heard of drippers attached to a bucket, I’m off to investigate.

    We have clay soil here and have raised the new beds in groves. In our situation if I was to put a pipe in next to the tree it would not seep around the roots of the tree. I think your best option is to use drippers or soaker hoses under your mulch.

    I use seaweed (the big green bottle) on my trees & veges and whilst they are only relatively new they are growing ok. In saying that my trees only get rain water until we get bigger tanks unless we have more than a week without rain. Gotta be tough to survive here :laugh: Our tank waters the vege garden and I suppose the orchard is down hill from the vege garden so gets a bit of run off if I forget to turn of the sprinkler :whistle:


    I just did this quick google search and a heap of things came up. Haven’t got time to look at them but they may help…

    If the link doesn’t work, I just googled “drippers fed from bucket”.



    I’d go with Jayne’s idea, but instead of sinking the barrels just set up one next to each tree (or use a 200L drum) with a few slow gravity fed drippers spread out under the trees. The slow water will seep in rather than run off and it’s much easier to maintain than sinking pipe, especially given that fruit trees generally have a shallow root system and you have clay 30cm down which will help retain moisture above that layer.


    We tried this with our orchard – in very sandy soil – and to be honest it didn’t really make much difference. I was at the local fruit nursery last weekend and asked and he recommended not to, said drippers would be the best option. If the pipe’s too deep, the roots don’t get to the water anyway.

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