Drip irrigation can offer a more efficient method of watering than spray irrigation, particularly in small areas. Water is applied to the soil slowly and under low pressure through emitters, bubblers, or spray heads placed at intervals. Because drip irrigation systems distribute water slowly, the run time may be significantly longer than for a traditional sprinkler system. However, there will be less evaporation and loss due to runoff.
Installation can be inexpensive and, with maintenance, can last as long as other irrigation systems. You can install drip irrigation systems on or below the ground’s surface. Consult a licensed irrigator to determine the appropriate type of drip irrigation system for your needs.
Drip irrigation can be used for watering vegetables, ornamental and fruit trees, shrubs, vines, and container grown plants outdoors. Drip irrigation is not well suited for solid plantings of shallow-rooted plants such as grass and some ground covers.
Some of the benefits are as follows:
Can reduce water loss by 60 percent or more, compared to spray irrigation.
Because drip irrigation applies water just where it is needed, there is little chance of waste through evaporation or runoff.
The soil moisture remains relatively constant.
Water contact with the leaves, stems, and fruit of plant s is minimized, preventing disease.
Rows between plants remain dry, which reduces weed growth.
Once installed, little labor is required to operate or maintain a drip irrigation system.
Operating a drip system involves deciding how often to turn it on and how long to leave it on. The object is to maintain adequate soil conditions without wasting water by overwatering.
For newly seeded gardens, the system should run only a short time every day for a few days, to keep the surface soil from drying out.
Plants loaded with fruit will need an inch of water every other day.