What is drip irrigation and why should I use it in my garden?
Drip irrigation is a low volume form of irrigation with controlled emitters that precisely apply water to the root zone of plants. Drip is mostly used for larger plant material like tree and shrub borders, but can also be used in turf to small areas that are difficult to water using traditional sprinklers. The main components to this form of irrigation consist of a specialized polyethylene dripper line with emitters that are uniformly spaced along the tube in different distances depending on the application rate and soils. A filter located at the valve is also required to keep the small emitters from clogging. This form of irrigation is highly efficient so it helps save water in the landscape when scheduled properly.
What makes drip irrigation a better choice than using overhead sprinklers?
Since drip is apply water directly to the rootzone of plants, much of the water waste that occurs while watering shrubs with spray heads is eliminated. Sprinklers are an ideal choice for larger turf areas because there are few obstructions that disrupt the distribution pattern of the nozzle. The more uniform the water is applied, the more efficient the irrigation will be. With sprinklers in a shrub or garden bed, plant material typically prevents the uniform application of watering either by preventing water from reaching all areas of the bed by hitting plants or if the sprinklers are above the plant, the canopy sometimes prevents water from reaching the soil by running off of the leaves. Drip irrigation eliminates this issue because the drippers are located below the canopy of the plant so there is no run off from the leaves. The other benefit from drip in your landscape beds is that the tubes are hidden from view, typically under mulch, so it is basically invisible in the landscape.
When designing a new irrigation system, drip becomes an excellent addition to an efficient irrigation layout. On an existing system, replacing outdated spray heads with drip is perfect way to make your system more water conserving, as well as make your plants happier. Most times existing irrigation lines can be used to feed drip irrigation to beds, keeping installation costs to a minimum. If you are considering adding drip to your gardens or want more ideas for conserving water in your landscape, contact our office today.