The drip emitters that supply water to your plants are installed on or molded into black plastic tubing called drip tubing. The tubing usually sits on top of the soil and beneath the mulch. In that position, the tubing is vulnerable to physical damage from weeding, foot traffic, and animal activity.
To inspect your drip lines and emitters, turn the system on and look for any funny business. You may find tiny geysers squirting festively into the air; in that case, check to see whether any emitters have come off. If an emitter pops off, put a new one in the same hole. Or close off the hole with a goof plug (see your dealer for this item) and make a new hole nearby for the replacement emitter. If a critter has noshed on the tubing, remove the damaged section and patch a new piece in, using two drip couplers that are friction-fitted on, just like other fittings on the system. (Be very careful to keep dirt from finding its way into the tubing while it's open and vulnerable.)
Every once in a while, despite adequate filtration, an emitter stops working. A dead or dying plant will tell you that you have a clogged emitter. Some emitters can be cleaned if they plug up; others have to be replaced. (The best ones are self-cleaning.) If the emitters are mounted on the drip tubing, pull off the stopped-up one and install a new one. (Keep a supply of emitters on hand for moments like these.) If the emitters are molded into the tubing, you can simply make a hole in the tubing next to the dead emitter and install a tubing-mounted emitter in the hole.
After a few years, the drip tubing will disappear under the soil. You can pull it back to the surface or leave it there (especially if you have in-line emitters that are approved for burial). As tree roots grow, they sometimes put a crimp in the drip tubing; replace the crimped part with a small new section of tubing, connecting it to the ends of the old tubing with drip coupler fittings. Give it some slack to account for the next few years' growth.
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