Since 1983 MCE Corporation has provided full city maintenance services for the City of Dublin, California. Dublin is one of California's fastest growing cities with warm weather and open spaces in the eastern hills of the San Francisco Bay Area. The Welcome to Dublin sign at the busy intersection of Hacienda Drive and Martinelli Ways is surrounded by a bed of annuals, which helps draw attention to the sign.
The site is highly exposed with strong afternoon winds, direct sunlight, and radiant heat from the surrounding roadway. Because of the harsh conditions, proper irrigation is important to prevent plant stress. According to Phil Nishkian, MCE Maintenance Superintendent, “The drip and bubblers system was not providing optimal coverage for the annuals. Additionally there was a mix of spray and drip equipment on the same zone.” Medians in California are subject to strict rules concerning run-off and water efficiency, and no overhead irrigation is allowed within 24” of non-permeable surfaces.
Because irrigating medians poses specific challenges, MCE chose the sign site to test Eco-Mat, the subsurface product that is considered the most efficient irrigation option in the industry. Designed to suit a variety of hard-to-irrigate areas, the Eco-Mat uses a specifically engineered combination of inline emitter tubing and fleece. The capillary action of the fleece material provides movement of water despite the soil type.
To install the product, they excavated the median landscape to an 8” depth, leveled it, and covered it with Hunter Eco-Mat. A new valve was added for zone control of the Eco-Mat. The product fit easily around several obstacles, including a sign post, electrical box, and city lights fixtures. A drain valve and an inspection box were added, and the site was backfilled with native soil.
The summer after the installation, the temperature in Dublin reached 104 degrees. Nishkian said, “The uniformity of the Eco-Mat is so precise we dialed back the run-time to save water. I have never seen our petunias look so healthy throughout the heat of summer.” The photo seen here was taken the day after the heat wave. The plants are healthy, full, and showing no stress.
“Planting our winter annuals was quick and easy, since the irrigation system is already in place and out of the way. There were no drip hoses or spray nozzles to adjust,” said Nishkian. With the addition of a thick layer of mulch, this is a great example of the ultimate in water-wise landscaping. “This was our first Eco-Mat installation and we are looking for other locations that fit the application,” Nishkian said.