The issue is this sprinkler was placed in a very bad location. It's next to a large stone and 1 foot away from a 40 foot tall tree.

Over the years, the tree grew on top of the sprinkler pipes. I had to spend 4-5 days figuring out where the leak was coming from. And finally found it. But it's LITERALLY between a rock and a hard place!

I've watched tons of videos on PVC pipe repair, but all the examples are shown in a much more workable and open area. So you can cut the pipe, get new fittings and glue everything together again. Here we can see that I only have this much space to work with. I'm thinking my best bet is repair the cracked pipe somehow and seal the leak. I know the pipe is being bent, but I don't have many options without removing the tree. Which isn't going to happen, I simple can't afford doing that right now.

Large Size image: https://i.sstatic.net/vTD3g.jpg

enter image description here

If you guys have any legitimate long term solutions, I would love to hear them. I'm thinking about leaving this hole open for the forseeable future, because it's literally in the back corner of the properity and no one will ever see it. That way I check on the pipe from time to time.

  • Does the sprinkler actually irrigate any turf or vegetation right now? Or is the spray all hitting the tree and stone (wall? driveway?)?
    – mmathis
    Jun 1, 2017 at 19:32
  • Great question. It does absolutely nothing but flood the area at the moment. Back story is, we have not used our sprinkler system in a long time, like years. And I've finally gotten around to all 50 heads working properly again. This is the last and final task to fix this PVC Pipe. I have not decided if I'm going cap it off or not yet. But regardless of that, this pipe needs to be fixed. Jun 1, 2017 at 19:54
  • 1
    Agreed, the pipe needs to be fixed, but the proper course of action may depend on whether you want to keep that head or not. Capping it off or moving it certainly gives you more options as to how to repair, one of which is detailed in @PeteCon's answer.
    – mmathis
    Jun 1, 2017 at 21:32

3 Answers 3


Cut behind the 3/4" elbow then glue in a "long elbow", which is a specialty repair part designed to use when you do not have the ability to move or add pipe:enter image description here

Then glue that to your existing tee using a "belled repair coupling", which is a specialty 2-piece repair part designed to snap down around pipe and the larger belled end of a fitting:enter image description here

You may have to alter both items. I would probably use my heat gun to change the angle of the elbow slightly (by inserting pipes in both ends and carefully heating and re-bending it). You will also probably need to cut the repair coupling much shorter on the "pipe" side.


The usually ways to introduce flexibility (both in terms of angles and actual movement) involve adding more elbows and more pipe. I'd take off the broken elbow, add a new elbow that turns to horizontal (toward the camera in this view). Add two new elbows to bring the pipe back to the tee in any convenient manner. You may need to rework more than that because there's no spare pipe at the tee.

A few more elbows are unlikely to reduce flow enough to be a concern unless flow is already an issue, or nearly so.

  • I agree mickey mouse fixes in this case are justified +. The longer you can make your new loops will provide additional flexability, try using 2 45s instead of a 90 then back fill with sand (much easier to fill around the pipes and dig out later) it may make it another 5-10 years.
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 1, 2017 at 19:04
  • Polyethylene irrigation pipe (rated up to 160 PSI) is much more flexible than any configuration of PVC pipe. Replacing this whole mess with poly pipe would allow movement.
    – William S.
    Jun 1, 2017 at 19:05
  • I'm not sure I understand. Any visuals you can show. I'm a novice when it comes to this stuff. Jun 1, 2017 at 19:07
  • I think you mean "turns to vertical (toward the camera)", rather than horizontal. The picture is looking down, so toward the camera would be vertical (up)
    – mmathis
    Jun 1, 2017 at 21:30
  • You might be right. There isn't much frame of reference.
    – isherwood
    Jun 1, 2017 at 23:25

That sprinkler is capped off, so I'd be happy to lose it.

Consider digging the trench back a few feet from the tree (in both directions), and then dig a connecting trench which avoids the tree altogether, giving you more room to maneuver, such as the following diagram..

enter image description here

  • This isn't going to work. The area you placed the new path is directly under the tree. The huge tree trunk, is just 1 large trunk that crosses the path going down (from the image) Bottom left of the image is directly where the tree is. When I say, I really have no movement, I'm dead serious about that. Jun 1, 2017 at 19:09
  • And I capped the sprinkler, because i didn't want to get any dirt backup into the pipe temporary. Jun 1, 2017 at 19:11
  • 1
    Assuming the entire garden isn't covered by the treetrunk, the concept will work; basically, connect two section of the sprinkler mainline with a new trench, and avoid that area. If you need a sprinkler in that area afterwards, connect one up with a (very) long funny pipe.
    – PeteCon
    Jun 1, 2017 at 19:13
  • Give you a better idea. i.imgur.com/HTVZaTz.jpg Jun 1, 2017 at 19:21

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