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Spring is upon us and people are more than ready to get outdoors and plant their gardens and flower beds. And there has been a lot of talk about the usefulness of drip irrigation systems. So you may be asking yourself, what is drip irrigation and what makes it a better way to water than say, a sprinkler?  Well, there are a number of factors and there are both pros and cons. But first, let’s define drip irrigation.

Drip or micro-irrigation is the slow, even application of water to soil and plants.  The water pressure is very low and the system itself uses a network of plastic pipes to carry the water to the plants and their roots. Drip irrigation systems can be used for crops with high or low water supply needs.

So what makes it more effective than a sprinkler system? A number of things. Water is applied much more slowly than with a sprinkler system. This allows for less runoff and evaporation which helps you to use your water more efficiently. Drip irrigation exceeds 90% efficiency whereas normal sprinkler systems are 50-70% efficient.

A well designed garden drip irrigation system reduces water contact with leaves, stems and fruit making the conditions less favorable for disease to occur.  The low volume of water application to the roots maintains a good balance of air and water in the soil. The better the air-water balance, the better the plants will grow.

As a side note, drip irrigation systems are now better designed and more widely available for home use in gardens.  Originally they were used for growing commercial vegetables, orchards, greenhouses and nurseries. They are also well suited for container plants and are very adaptable to oddly shaped fields. Drip irrigation systems can be managed with ease, especially when combined with a water timer.

If you are planning on installing a drip irrigation system you should first map out the area you want covered. If you want to install a system in your garden, draw a diagram of the plants you have and where they are placed. It is also important to include trees and shrubs. They need water too and for some reason, people tend to forget about them. Tell yourself that if you have something that is growing and you want it to continue to thrive; you should add them to your irrigation plan.

But there are some disadvantages to drip irrigation systems. Garden Drip Kits systems only work as well as where the emitters are placed. Be sure and place emitters so the water reaches the roots of the plants.  Keep in mind the importance of the air-water balance.

Water seeping from the emitters can be difficult to see thus making it hard to know if the system is working properly. But there are indicator devices available that will raise and lower a flag to show when the water is flowing.

The tubing itself can be a trip hazard for dogs and children. But this can be less of a problem if your cover the tubing with mulch and fasten anchor pins with wire every 2-3 feet.  Also, be careful when performing other landscape maintenance duties. Tubing can be easily cut if not seen and you are in a hurry.

Watch for leaks. Leaks can occur as a result of animals, insects and tools.  When a leak is spotted it is important to patch it immediately to prevent uneven irrigation.

So when you begin to think about your watering needs for your plants and vegetables, give some serious thought to drip irrigation systems. They are a very efficient and effective use of water and drip systems for home use are readily available and can be easily installed.

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Blog

Spring is upon us and people are more than ready to get outdoors and plant their gardens and flower beds. And there has been a lot of talk about the usefulness of drip irrigation systems. So you may be asking yourself, what is drip irrigation and what makes it a better way to water than say, a sprinkler?  Well, there are a number of factors and there are both pros and cons. But first, let’s define drip irrigation.

Drip or micro-irrigation is the slow, even application of water to soil and plants.  The water pressure is very low and the system itself uses a network of plastic pipes to carry the water to the plants and their roots. Drip irrigation systems can be used for crops with high or low water supply needs.

So what makes it more effective than a sprinkler system? A number of things. Water is applied much more slowly than with a sprinkler system. This allows for less runoff and evaporation which helps you to use your water more efficiently. Drip irrigation exceeds 90% efficiency whereas normal sprinkler systems are 50-70% efficient.

A well designed garden drip irrigation system reduces water contact with leaves, stems and fruit making the conditions less favorable for disease to occur.  The low volume of water application to the roots maintains a good balance of air and water in the soil. The better the air-water balance, the better the plants will grow.

As a side note, drip irrigation systems are now better designed and more widely available for home use in gardens.  Originally they were used for growing commercial vegetables, orchards, greenhouses and nurseries. They are also well suited for container plants and are very adaptable to oddly shaped fields. Drip irrigation systems can be managed with ease, especially when combined with a water timer.

If you are planning on installing a drip irrigation system you should first map out the area you want covered. If you want to install a system in your garden, draw a diagram of the plants you have and where they are placed. It is also important to include trees and shrubs. They need water too and for some reason, people tend to forget about them. Tell yourself that if you have something that is growing and you want it to continue to thrive; you should add them to your irrigation plan.

But there are some disadvantages to drip irrigation systems. Garden Drip Kits systems only work as well as where the emitters are placed. Be sure and place emitters so the water reaches the roots of the plants.  Keep in mind the importance of the air-water balance.

Water seeping from the emitters can be difficult to see thus making it hard to know if the system is working properly. But there are indicator devices available that will raise and lower a flag to show when the water is flowing.

The tubing itself can be a trip hazard for dogs and children. But this can be less of a problem if your cover the tubing with mulch and fasten anchor pins with wire every 2-3 feet.  Also, be careful when performing other landscape maintenance duties. Tubing can be easily cut if not seen and you are in a hurry.

Watch for leaks. Leaks can occur as a result of animals, insects and tools.  When a leak is spotted it is important to patch it immediately to prevent uneven irrigation.

So when you begin to think about your watering needs for your plants and vegetables, give some serious thought to drip irrigation systems. They are a very efficient and effective use of water and drip systems for home use are readily available and can be easily installed.

Leave a comment...

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