Uses for Drip IrrigationPosted on March 22, 2015
What a crazy summer we had last year – hot, hot, hot and dry, dry, dry! Well, I guess the hot and dry isn’t so crazy, but the unprecedented watering restrictions sure were! For the first time, many cities in our lawn sprinkler service area implemented once-every-two-week watering restrictions. Although very similar, some cities enforced twice-a-month watering restrictions. Because these restrictions were in place last summer, and continue to be until further notice, drip irrigation is beginning to become an alternative that many people are becoming more and more interested in for their gardens, flowerbeds and foundations. When watering restrictions are in place, most cities allow watering using drip irrigation when aboveground watering is not permitted. The permissible use of drip irrigation can differ city to city and can range from no restrictions at all to being allowed for up to two hours per day. That’s not bad at all!
Drip irrigation was first developed in the mid-1960s and it has been used in landscaping since the mid-1980s in North America. It has even been field tested at the Center for Irrigation Technology in Fresno, California since 1989. Basically, drip irrigation consists of a series of tubes with holes and emitters that allow a specific amount of water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone. Drip irrigation can be located on top of the soil, buried below a layer of mulch or buried four to eight inches below the surface.
Many of our sprinkler repair customers in Plano, TX like the idea of drip irrigation for their flowerbeds, foundations and parkways because those tend to be the areas that are most affected when severe watering restrictions are in place. Drip irrigation is a great alternative to standard pop-up, rotor or other above ground sprinkler heads for several reasons:
- Water droplets will stay off plant leaves. Droplets of water act like a magnifying glass and can actually burn a plant when the sun’s rays are intense.
- Water will promote root growth by getting water directly to the roots. Excess water sprayed on top of the ground typically does not travel deep enough into the root zone to promote root growth.
- Easier to protect the foundation of the house. Being able to have more freedom when watering will allow the foundation to get water when it needs it to maintain its equilibrium.
- Watering is not restricted. Plants will actually receive more water than watering with a sprinkler system twice per week and watering can be scheduled for any time of the day.
- Watering will be more efficient. Rather than watering the entire plant and surrounding soil, water is applied directly to the area of the plant that needs it, the roots.
- Water usage will be reduced. By not wasting water that is over sprayed beyond the flower beds and gardens and by directing the application of water to the root zone, water usage will actually be reduced.
Converting or adding drip irrigation is a bit more than laying down soaker hoses or attaching drip irrigation tubing to an existing station of your sprinkler system. Adding drip irrigation involves installing new valves and equipment, creating separate watering zones. Creating separate zones for drip irrigation will allow for a more precise and frequent watering schedule. Also, drip irrigation requires a different level of water pressure as well as a different volume of water. If it were on the same zone as pop-up spray heads, it would not function properly.
One thing that we highly recommend is the use of plastic stakes to hold the drip irrigation tubing in place. Many Frisco lawn sprinkler companies tend to use metal stakes. Metal stakes rust over time and can become sharp, damaging the tubing. It addition, be careful with lawn equipment around drip irrigation. The tubing is no match for a weed eater or lawn mower. Rodents have also been known to chew through tubing in search of water.
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