If you're reading this, you're probably already aware of the benefits of drip irrigation. Many know that drip irrigation is a great way to reduce water usage when watering your plants or crops. This is good for the environment, saving water for the lakes, rivers and streams and everything that lives in or by them. Drip irrigation can benefit your bank account, too, because cutting back on water use will save you money.
Fewer folks know about another important benefit of drip irrigation. Because it directs water directly to the plants you target, it starves weeds of water, thus cutting down on weed growth and the endless chore of weeding.
Installing a drip irrigation system is not particularly complicated. Most folks, including novices, can assemble one in a weekend. As with most things, though, a little planning will help ensure maximum success. DripWorks is happy to offer you a few tips based on our many years of experience in the field.
Setting up an irrigation system is not a one-size-fits-all project. Instead, your system will depend on its ultimate purpose and the terrain you're working with.
Mainline Tubing: If you have seen a drip system, the first thing you probably noticed is the mainline tubing. This flexible, low-density polyethylene tubing forms the foundation of a drip system. The most common size of a residential drip system is 1/2-inch diameter black tubing, but 3/4-inch and larger tubing is used for more significant water requirements. You can run this tubing hundreds of feet from the faucet out to the far reaches of your yard in a straight line, along a fence or around trees and shrubs. Emitters and sprayers can be installed into this strong, pliable tubing wherever you need them.
Easy Loc Fittings: Easy Loc connectors offer a simple way to have maximum freedom over the design of your system. These fittings are not only easy to use but are highly reliable and versatile. There are more than 20 styles of fittings to choose from, so you can build a system that works for your garden.
Drip Tape: Aqua Traxx Drip Tape is perfect for row crops and raised beds. If you drive through California's Central Valley, you will notice endless commercial crops irrigated with drip tape. Here are some reasons why it's preferred over other irrigation methods:
- Low-cost, effective watering for row crops and raised beds
- Superb watering efficiency, uniformity, and clog resistance
- Ideal for above-ground, mulched and buried applications
- Great for low-pressure systems, works down to 4 pounds per square inch
- Requires only 155 mesh filtrations.
- Typically lasts up to seven years if buried, two to five years if above ground
Soaker Dripline: Ideal for small- and medium-sized garden beds and containers, this U.S.-made, 1/4-inch-diameter tubing has factory-installed emitters every 6, 9 or 12 inches. This extremely flexible and easy-to-use microtubing delivers water evenly up to 30 psi and down to 2 psi. Soaker Dripline is used extensively in the DripWorks demonstration garden for ornamental perennial flower beds, vegetables, and shrubs.
Emitters: Drip emitters, or drippers, are the most known and used component of a drip system. There are two main categories of emitters.
- Non-pressure compensating emitters: The higher the water pressure coming from your faucet or valve, the higher the flow will be coming out of each emitter.
- Pressure-compensating emitters: Achieves even water distribution when your drip system runs extensive distances. Ideal when planting in long rows or when dealing with uneven or hilly terrain.
Sprayers: When a larger amount of water is necessary for fast growth, thirsty plants or to cover a significant area, sprayers will emit a much higher volume of water over a larger area than emitters. There are adjustable sprayers, directional sprayers, non-adjustable sprayers, adjustable circular sprayers, and pressure-compensating sprayers available.
Filters: Nylon screen filters remove sediment and debris that can clog a home drip system. Larger filters with stainless steel screens are best to withstand higher water pressures. If you are sourcing from a live body of water, such as a stream, river or pond that may have algae or other organic matter, an easy-to-clean disc filter is the way to go.
Timers: Timers ensure your plants, crops or flowers get the regular watering they need when they need it. Below are several different options available for irrigation timers:
Fertilizer Injectors: These tools deliver important nutrients to your plants while the irrigation system is running. These injectors are set up inline, so when the timer starts the irrigation cycle, fertilizer is carried into the mainline and out to each emitter and sprayer. This gives you control over the precise amount of fertilizer the plants need for optimal growth.
- EZ Flo Fertilizer Injector: This injector is recommended for backyard gardeners, as well as for use in large growing areas. It can be filled with a dry or liquid fertilizer.
- Mazzei Fertilizer Injector: As water passes through this unit, it draws fertilizer into the line. The Mazzei is incredibly reliable and easy to use, offering a pressure range of 20 to 100 psi.
- MixRite Injector: This injector is precision-made for the professional grower, ideal for organic and synthetic fertilizer alike. It is also the easiest injector to clean and maintain.
If you have any questions, you can chat with our knowledgeable reps online or over the phone. You can also check out our Garden Planning Guide, Drip Planning Guide, Gallery of Plans and series of How-To Videos. You can also request a free copy of our 2023 catalog be sent to your door.