Drip irrigation is a smart and affordable option for watering your yard and garden. This technique is 90% efficient, letting plants use the water delivered.
Sprinklers are only 65 to 75 percent efficient. Additionally, drip irrigation reduces the amount of water lost to evaporation and runoff.
Slowly delivering water to the plant’s root zone, where it is most needed, is the goal of drip irrigation systems.
While commercial farms and nurseries have traditionally been the primary users of drip irrigation, more and more homeowners are discovering its many advantages. Drip irrigation is convenient for homeowners to water their trees, shrubs, and perennial gardens.
What is drip irrigation?
It delivers water to plants’ root zones slowly, allowing it to penetrate the soil more thoroughly. The root zone, not the foliage, is where you should water the plants.
Make sure your soil can handle drip irrigation before installing one. Drip irrigation works well with the vast majority of soil types. To prevent water from accumulating on clay-type soils, however, emitters must be set to a trickle.
However, you need to set emitters to a higher setting for sandy soil. This will help you achieve the same level of water distribution.
Types of drip irrigation:
There are two primary types of irrigation:
- Subsurface Drip Irrigation:
With this method, water is slowly trickled down to the plant’s root systems. Typically, row crops benefit most from this method of irrigation.
Drip irrigation, leaking hoses, underground drips, bubblers and misters installed above ground, and overhead irrigation are all viable options for watering plants.
- Surface Drip Irrigation:
The water is slowly released onto the soil’s surface, well above the plant roots. This method of watering is typically reserved for more valuable crops.
Pros of drip irrigation
Drip irrigation systems are commonly used in landscapes. This is because of the water savings and efficiency they provide. These methods additionally reduce evaporation-related water loss. Examining the benefits of a drip irrigation system is a worthwhile endeavor.
- Reduces leaf diseases
Drip irrigation prevents leaf wetting by directing water only to the plant’s roots. Wet leaves can promote the growth of fungi and other pathogens.
- Hinders the growth of weeds
Weeds won’t be able to survive in this environment since water can reach the roots of desired plants more quickly. Weeds should be reduced or eradicated as a result of the water shortage.
- Reduces resource waste
Water is a precious resource that is conserved with drip irrigation systems. Drip irrigation ensures that water reaches the plant’s roots, where it can do the most good. However, water sprayed from a garden hose or sprinkler quickly evaporates and gets wasted.
Drip irrigation systems can distribute as little as one gph, significantly reducing water consumption. Sprinkler systems can spray anywhere from 12 to 30 gallons per minute.
- Boosts plant productivity
Plants’ flowering and fruiting abilities improve with consistent watering. Seeds have an easier time germinating in wet soil.
The system is automated, so plants receive the water they need for growth and increased output. Watering with the hose is an exercise in luck, no matter how careful you are.
- It helps prevent soil erosion
Drip irrigation reduces the likelihood of water runoff, root exposure, and soil erosion. This is because water is delivered at a slow, steady rate.
The soil can better absorb the water because of the gradual dispersion. Water gushing from a garden hose can easily loosen and dislodge soil.
- Simple to modify and versatile
You can set up drip irrigation systems in a wide variety of configurations, which is a major benefit. For example, shrubs have different watering needs than lawns or perennials.
This system may be tailored to meet those demands. As the terrain develops and water needs vary, the system can be scaled up or down accordingly.
- Saves money on energy bills
The low-pressure water pumping required by a drip irrigation system results in significant energy savings. Your energy bills may go down as a result.
- Effective and convenient
Drip irrigation systems can water plants effectively, eliminating human intervention. The homeowner is relieved of responsibility for the system’s on/off switch.
The homeowner or installer will program the sensors and timers. These components determine the start and stop times of the system.
Cons of Drip Irrigation Systems
Drip irrigation systems have flaws, just like everything else in the world. Here are the drawbacks of using drip irrigation in a garden:
The efficiency of the drip irrigation system depends on you. That includes checking the flow rate and cleanliness of the tubes, emitters, and filters.
- Danger of tripping
Drip irrigation lines that run along the ground are a tripping hazard for humans and animals. The sudden stop could cause the emitters to break or the tubing to crack, leading to leaks.
- Clogged Emitters
Knowing the purity of your water supply is essential. Even with filters, employing a drip irrigation system may not be possible in areas with hard water, salt water, or water with a high calcium content. Hard water causes the drip emitters to become clogged. Remember to bring this up with the installers.
- Leaks from rats
Drip irrigation tubing, tree bark, and roots are all fair game for rodents like field mice and squirrels. While drinking, dogs and other animals might attempt to bite the tubing. Drip irrigation systems are susceptible to leaking for a variety of reasons.
- Damage from garden equipment
Leaks can occur in the garden when landscaping equipment, weed whackers, lawnmowers, and shovels damage emitters or tubing.
- Damage from weather and garden chemicals
Chemicals used on gardens and lawns, such as weed killers and fertilizers, can deteriorate the tubing. The tube can break down in the sun. The mulch you place over the tubes can help avoid these problems.
- Issues with Spacing
More emitters in one location might stifle plant growth and lead to oversaturation of the soil.
The upfront cost of a drip irrigation system is typically higher than that of a standard sprinkler system. This is due to the complexities involved, such as the tubing diameter, the regulators, the water quality, the water pressure, the timers, the sensors, the separation between the pump and the emitters, and so on.
Should I do drip irrigation in my backyard?
It takes a lot of effort to maintain a beautiful yard. Saving water in the process is always preferable. You not only obtain the backyard of your dreams, but you can rest easy knowing that you are acting sustainably. You can determine if drip irrigation is right for you by weighing its benefits against its drawbacks.