June 1, 2011


It's time to tell you about a gardening mistake.  Joene sponsors GOOPS --  Gardening Oops -- and you can read them on her blog on the first of every month.

Mine this month is a classic.  Inevitable and predictable and 100% guaranteed to happen.

Our home has an underground sprinkler system.  My garden had a row of dwarf forsythias that were not thriving and needed to be removed.

Removal was a chore, and it involved hacking away the shrubby plants with a shovel, and at one point with a crowbar to dislodge the stubborn root systems.

You know where this is going, you just do.
The laws of nature predict that a crowbar used in any fashion whatsoever near ground level in any suburban yard with a sprinkler system will find and pierce an underground pipe.

It happened.  There was no gusher, no geyser to tell us we had done the inevitable damage.  Just a slow, seeping burble of water puddling where it should not be.  We could not find the actual rupture.  The water pooled away from the break, below ground, hidden and insidious.

It got fixed.  Jim dug and dug and removed about an acre of dirt and found the wound.  The sprinkler guy came and all was back to normal after quick repairs and a hearty check.

I can't even say this was a gardening oops --- there was no surprise, no unexpected outcome or unanticipated mistake made.

It was simply destined to happen the minute the crowbar came out of the toolbox. 


  1. Oh my goodness, Laurrie. I'd have been crying for days and days over the water bill, the acre of displaced soil, the hearty check, the water waste, the acre of displaced soil, and on and on. And to add insult to injury, it HAD to happen during the wettest spring in the history of the world. Right? I'm glad you got it fixed (and aren't YOU glad this wasn't a "leak" that found its way into your house???).

  2. Crowbars, spades, garden forks or other digging implements help keep irrigation contractors busy. I'm sure you are not alone in this GOOPs. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Mmmhmmm...just did this myself during the removal of some of the shrubs out front. Never fails.

  4. Wendy, I am glad it didn't leak into the house... what a disaster that would have been!

    Joene, knowing everyone else has done this doesn't make it any better : )

    Cat, inevitable. So inevitable.

  5. Laurrie, I'm sorry to hear you had to repair your underground sprinkler system. I think whoever has an underground sprinkler system has gone through cracked pipes more than once. I can tell it's annoying and always quite a bit of work.
    We have at least 1 repair a year.
    Less from us digging hitting the pipes in the garden but from problems the roots from the trees in our AND in the neighbor's gardens are causing the pipes to crack.
    My husband almost can do the pipe repairs with closed eyes. :)

  6. PJ, I guess it is a common occurrence! Aggravating, but not catastrophic : )

  7. Another informative blog… Thank you for sharing it… Best of luck for further endeavor too.


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