How and Why to Use Drip Irrigation

The disadvantage of hoses and sprinklers is that a tremendous amount of water is wasted, owing not only to evaporation, but the irregular disbursement of water to where it is not really needed.

Advantages of Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation systems apply water directly where it is needed by the plants.

Drip irrigation uses 30 to 50% less water than standard conventional watering methods, and uses it more effectively.

Smaller amounts of water applied gradually over an extended period of time will provide ideal growing conditions not only for your vegetable garden but ornamental plants as well. Because the flow is continuous, water does not dissipate via evaporation before it can be utilized by the plants, it penetrates deeper into the soil where the roots can access it.

In addition to the obvious advantages to drought plagued gardeners, drip systems are also proven to discourage weeds as the water is only delivered to pinpointed locales, places where it is needed and hence denied to rogue plants and weeds.

Drip systems are also detrimental to fungal infestations that plague gardeners in moist locations. The minute holes in soaker hoses allows for the water to slowly weep into the soil and provide thorough irrigation even in the driest conditions.

Installing a Drip System

To install a drip system make a schematic of your garden showing the location of plantings and the lengths of hosing or tubing necessary to reach them.

soaker hose diagram for drip irrigation systems

Lay your soaker hose along the ground and maneuver it around plants and obstacles to where it is needed. Depending on the size of your garden you’ll probably need several, They can be tailored to work in almost any situation with a combination of fittings, adapters and so forth.

Covering the hose with mulch is advantageous but purely optional, it is more efficient and takes more meticulous measurement and placement to be certain the water is going to the right places. For sloped and hilly sites regulators may be necessary.

Sprinkler hoses differ from soaker hoses, they spray water at a exorbitant rate as opposed to dripping it gradually into the soil. They indiscriminately spray water into the air along the length of the hose and not directly where it is needed.

They are good for watering narrow lawns as they can wet a wide swath of ground – but not very efficient for drought use. Sprinkler hoses are flat hoses with perforations along them that release the water, for an efficient drip irrigation effect flip them upside down and use them as you would a soaker hose.

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