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GARDEN NEWS : Retro-Drip for Drought

In Santa Barbara, conventional sprinklers cannot be turned on during this fourth summer of severe drought, but drip systems are allowed, because they are more efficient with water. Drip irrigation cannot water a lawn, but it can water shrubs and flower beds that were being watered by sprinklers, and there are kits that quickly convert sprinkler heads to octupuslike drip systems.

One such kit (Model EH-12 Emitter Head) is made by Olson Irrigation Systems, 10910 Wheatlands Ave., Santee, Calif., 92071; (619) 562-3100 or (800) 770-5766. It simply screws on to the top of the sprinkler riser (the pipe coming out of the ground). Inside is a screen to filter particles that might clog the tiny emitters, easily cleaned since the top is removable.

There are a dozen outlets in each head and enough tubing and emitters to reach a dozen plants. Directions suggest the spacing of emitters in shrub or flower beds, and there are little plastic stakes that hold the heads in place so they will not be displaced by frolicking animals or careless gardeners. The cost of each kit is about $17, and they are available at irrigation suppliers or phone the manufacturer for retail sources.


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