Many people know what drip irrigation is, but few are fully aware of all the benefits it provides to your landscaped areas. Subsurface drip irrigation systems consist of flexible tubing that is buried under the top layers of soil or mulch. Although multiple varieties exist, all drip irrigation systems work by the same concept: they allow low pressure water to drip out of holes (or emitters) to directly water the roots of plants. Here are some of the benefits of drip irrigation.
This is undoubtedly the biggest advantage of drip irrigation systems. Some experts say that drip irrigation may use 20 to 50 percent less water than conventional pop-up sprinkler systems. This is because drip irrigation greatly reduces soil evaporation, surface runoff, and provides deep percolation. You may not realize how much water is lost with sprinklers (even with the improvements in technology), but water is wasted whenever it lands on sidewalks and fences, or when it evaporates as it’s thrown through the air or sits on the plant material itself. A portion of sprinkler water will eventually hit the soil and get to the roots, but in general drip systems are more efficient at getting the water where you need it without excess losses.
Water When you Want!
Because less water is lost with drip irrigation, most cities (including the City of Plano) allow residents to use drip irrigation even outside of their allowed watering schedule days.
Better water distribution.
Setting up sprinkler zones on lawns can be fairly straightforward, but doing so in a planting bed is more difficult. Planting material may obstruct sprinkler heads, impeding their ability to get even coverage to all the plants. Using drip lines in a planting bed can be a great way of ensuring all areas get water and that it is distributed evenly. This is important as it is easy for people to overwater some areas in an effort to get water to drier spots where plants are struggling. Even distribution is vital!
Not only do drip systems allow you to get water where you need it, but it also helps to keep water from where you don’t want it. One of the best examples of this is the damaging effects of sprinklers on a fence that can be reduced if a drip system is used.
Plants often run the risk of getting harmful diseases when foliage is consistently wet from sprinklers, especially if the temperatures are just right and water sits on the leaves through the night. By putting the water where it needs to be (at the roots), you are greatly reducing the chances of some of these devastating plant diseases.
What to watch out for
There are always pros and cons in your landscaping choices. One common frustration of drip lines is when they are exposed through the mulch. The chances of this occurring can be reduced by properly installing drip lines with staples at sufficient depths.
Another hurdle is that there is a limit of how much water can travel laterally in the soil. Water is affected by gravity, so spacing of the drip lines is everything. The lines need to be placed close enough together to avoid any dry spots. If the lines aren’t spaced right, it doesn’t matter how long you leave your drip system on- the water may never get to everywhere you need it.
J. Cordell Landscape and Irrigation is a professionally licensed and insured irrigation (sprinkler) contractor and can assist you in converting sprinkler heads to drip irrigation to save you water. Let us help! Text or Email us today to schedule a consultation! 469-609-7733