Drip irrigation is essentially the process of applying slow, steady and precise amounts of water to your plants, shrubs, trees and gardens.
As an extremely efficient method of watering, drip irrigation delivers smaller quantities of water directly to the plant’s roots. Drip irrigation is a permanent system which can be installed for just a few plants or a few thousand acres, depending on your needs.
Drip irrigation uses flexible, polyethylene tubing or PVC piping, along with devices for dripping water (called emitters). It is relatively easy to install and requires no trenching. It can be controlled manually or can be activated through the use of an automatic timer.
Installing drip irrigation
Drip irrigation, using polyethylene tubing, is simply wound around the base of the plant, shrub or tree. The many emitters along the length of the tube slowly release water which is absorbed into the soil by the plant’s root system. The polyethylene tubing can be cut to size using a simple pair of shears, and can be installed by a landscape contractor or designated as a do-it-yourself project.
A qualified landscape contractor is a smart choice if you have a large area which you would like irrigated, or if you want the system set up to an automatic timer. The services of a qualified landscape contractor may be able to set different watering zones for different types of plants as well. For example, you may want to water your vegetable garden twice a day, but your nearby perennial garden every other day. A multiple-zone system can be easily achieved through the use of an automatic timer, which is typically located in your garage.
Although drip irrigation systems have been used for many years in commercial and agricultural settings, they have now found a place in landscapes across America as homeowners search for more environmentally friendly ways of caring for their landscape.
The benefits of drip irrigation include: