Best Practices for Willow Bed Ground Cover and Irrigation

Managing Drip Tape Under the Ground Cloth

We touch on a couple of best practices for managing ground cover and irrigation in our willow beds. We have a few thousand square feet of willow bed covered by ground cloth. Beneath it, we have pre-laid drip tape running lengthwise. Unfortunately, drip tape migrates. It will not run straight along the entire length of the bed, making it difficult to know where to make cuts in the ground cloth for planting and performing yearly maintenance.

Locating Drip Tape Under the Ground Cloth

When planting, one way to locate the drip tape is by looking for a slight bulge or dampness when the drip tape is pressurized and water is flowing through it. Another strategy we use is to pull the ground cloth up using an existing hole. This lifts the plastic off the drip tape underneath letting you cut without risk of damage.

Making Cuts Parallel to Drip Tape

In the second year of growth of a willow bed, you will need to cut plastic away from each trunk so it has room to grow in diameter.  When cutting the ground cloth to accommodate this growth, make cuts on either side of the trunk parallel with the drip tape. Cutting in a direction perpendicular to the direction of the drip tape increases the risk of cutting it.

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