Deep Drip® FAQ
1. “That will never penetrate my soil. My soil is way too hard – mostly made of clay.”
That’s exactly why Deep Drip Tree Watering Stakes are needed. Your soil may be so compacted that when you currently water, the water probably doesn’t ever get too much deeper than 7-8 inches on its own. With Deep Drip, you can pound this into extremely compacted soil and water 14-36 inches deep all the time, depending on the length of the model you’ve chosen. You may have to use different means to drive into the ground (auger bit, steel driving pole), but your tree will be better off. We recommend that you use surface emitters in conjunction with our stakes so that you will water the shallow roots as well as the deep roots for a complete and efficient watering every time. And when pounding it into the ground, we always recommend that the ground be completely saturated (see test below) – after a good rain is an option or just a long soaking with a hose.
Actual Test: Using a 3-pound sledge hammer, we pounded a 24” stake into the ground 7 feet away from a tree’s trunk where the ground was completely dry. It took 385 hits to get it into the ground to cap level. We then extracted the stake and moved it 3 feet closer to the tree where the ground was wet due to repeated watering of the tree. The stake only took 72 hits to get it in the ground to cap level (approximately 95 seconds).
2. “The cap will crack or break if I hit it with a sledge hammer.”
That’s what a lot of people initially think, although we’ve put this cap through serious R&D tests. We’ve hit some of these caps over 1,000 times, driving them into some very hard ground. The caps held up very well without breaking and looked almost as they did before we pounded on them. The caps were specifically engineered to withstand repeated sledge hammer blows (see our video on our ‘Videos’ page). Obviously, there are ways to break almost anything, which is why we don’t recommend using a 10-pound sledge hammer in extremely compacted soil. Furthermore, if you did somehow manage to break a cap, you could contact us and get a replacement cap for free.
3. “I don’t have an automatic drip system, so how would I use your stakes?”
There are various regions that do not use micro irrigation or 1/4-inch dripline, but only a common garden hose to water trees. That works, too! After inserting Deep Drip, you can take off the cap and run a hose up to the open end of the stake. A very long, slow flow from your hose will deeply water your trees at the roots. Another recommendation is to create a small berm completely around the tree trunk to keep the water contained (see fig. 3b on our ‘Installation’ page). Place 2-3 stakes inside the circle and run a hose within that area. The hose will water the shallow roots and will also run down inside the stakes to water the deeper roots. The larger the tree, the larger diameter you’ll want to have within the berm, and the more stakes you’ll need to surround the tree. This process is a great way to make sure a newly planted tree survives and grows strong, deep, healthy roots.
This same principle will work in areas having flood irrigation. Just make sure you bury the stakes low enough to avoid any damage from a lawn mower passing above.
4. “What are the recommended ‘flow rates’ for Deep Drip Tree Watering Stakes?”
We leave that up to the lawn & garden professional who can make a better recommendation upon knowing the following details:
- Regional soil density (the more compacted the soil, the slower & longer the water needs to run)
- Type of tree and its specific watering needs (a ficus or palm tree will require more water than a southwestern mesquite, for instance)
- Number of Units: The more deep drip units around the tree, the lower the flow that is needed (i.e. 5 stakes/emitters @ 1gph ea. or 2 stakes/emitters @ 2 gph ea.)
If you did have an emitter that was too powerful and the water came back up through the top of the shaft, that’s actually not a bad thing. Especially since we recommend an emitter at the top of the surface (see Installation Instructions) to water the shallow roots as well. And when you water the entire root zone from the top down, this promotes ‘leaching’ so that sodium levels in the soil cannot become too high and cause ‘salt burn’. There are some adjustable emitters on the market that can be controlled from 0-10 gph, depending on how they are dialed. Using this kind of emitter may be the best, as a homeowner/landscaper can perform specific tests at different levels with the same emitter.
5. “Will watering with your stakes result in the tree getting salt burn?”
Your tree can get salt burn just by using an emitter at the surface only. ‘Salt burn’ occurs when the water around your tree or shrub does not have a chance to move through the soil and the root zone. As you surface-water your trees, the water may only go down several inches and then dry up leaving the minerals that were in the water. This process happens again and again over time always leaving the minerals, and in this case, the salt. This will create a yellowish leaf with a brown ‘burnt’ look around the edges. To avoid salt burn, one needs to water from the surface down to leach (flush) the salts that the water leaves in the soil after it dries. So when using an emitter at the surface, in addition to Deep Drip Tree Watering Stakes, the area will be better saturated and will promote leaching of the salts through the root zone.
6. “The soil out here doesn’t have any issues with getting water to the roots.”
That may be true in some cases where there might be more sand in the soil, although a lot of people have their automatic drip timers set to their plants instead of their trees, so they never water long enough to get down to the tree roots at 24-36 inches deep. Using our stakes will guarantee that no matter how long you water, the water will get down to where the roots are – even if only watering for 10-15 minutes as some people do.
Other reasons to use our stakes in sandy soil: Deep Drip promotes deeper fertilization when adding fertilizer inside the shaft, prevents run-off while in use with trees situated on a slope, and will aid in new planting to ensure roots are getting enough water. Deep Drip also promotes deeper aeration, more efficiently allowing oxygen down deeper in the root zone.
7. “I am a nursery owner, and my clientele comprises mostly of seniors and there’s no way they will be able to pound these into the ground.”
Actually, we do quite well in the ‘senior living’ areas of the country because many of them have ‘landscapers’ who do their yard maintenance for them. Many of them don’t do the work themselves. Not to mention, most people will use Deep Drip Tree Watering Stakes when planting new trees, so all they have to do is drop them in the hole – No pounding and no extensive labor to use our stakes. But then again, I think we’d all be surprised how able-bodied ‘seniors’ can be.
8. “I live in the part of the country where rain is plentiful – why would my customers need your product?”
Deep Drip does much more than water – it is a great way to bring weak or sick trees back to health. Like a doctor uses a syringe to inject a patient with medicine, Deep Drip is an avenue to inject nutrients deep into the trees root zone for optimal health. So if you and your employees ever recommend fertilizer to resolve a customer’s issue with his tree, then there is no better delivery tool than Deep Drip. Not to mention, the aeration factor is always important to create a healthy environment for a tree’s sustained longevity. Some of our customers use Deep Drip to help dry out their tree’s root zone, as it is actually over-saturated due to a variety of soil factors.