Expert Guide to Irrigation: Equipment to Purchase and When to Use It

May 12th 2022

There are “Dummies” guides to almost every pursuit a person could take up, but what happens when you want to plant a new crop or start a garden from scratch? First, you’ll need to get water to the garden. The prospect of purchasing the right equipment for your irrigation needs can be difficult even overwhelming. Today, I’m going to deliver a quick guide to help you figure out exactly what irrigation equipment you need and when to use it.

But what kind of irrigation? A variety of watering methods are available.

More and more folks are discovering the advantages of drip irrigation. Compared to traditional irrigation methods, such as using sprinklers, flooding, or watering by hand, drip irrigation saves a huge amount of water. That’s becoming increasingly important in these drought-stricken times. Besides helping save Mother Earth, conserving water can help save you money by lowering your municipal water bill or cutting water use from your well.

In addition, drip irrigation puts each drop of water exactly where you want it. That gets it to your target plants’ roots without encouraging weed growth around them. Because the water is applied slowly, less evaporation occurs. And watering via drip irrigation doesn’t get plants’ foliage wet, which can cause problems like powdery mildew and other plant diseases.

After 25 years in the drip irrigation business and more than 40 additional years gardening, I have been fortunate to experiment with most every product we carry. I’m about to eliminate that “how do I make sure I’m getting this right” anxiety and give you the information you need to ensure that your landscaping, crop, or garden is a success.

Which Product to Use? “Keep It Simple, Stupid” Works

Some of my favorite products include the Shrubbler on a stake, Soaker Dripline, Ein Dor Mini-Sprinklers, Aqua-Traxx drip tape and Emitter Tubing. Getting familiar with these products will help you become a plant-whispering virtuoso.

When to Use Everything on My Must-Know List

The Shrubbler: A Wide Watering Pattern for Roses and Tomatoes

If you love to grow big, luscious red ripe tomatoes, drip irrigation for tomatoes is a great way to go. A tomato irrigation system like this will save you water, deliver it to where your tomatoes need it most and help keep your plants healthy and strong.

If you want to grow a healthy crop of tomato plants, the Shrubbler is the best drip irrigation system for tomatoes. The adjustable Shrubbler’s wide watering pattern will build a big root system. As the tomato plants start to flower, the Shrubbler cap can be turned down to decrease the amount of water provided, signaling the plant to produce lots of juicy and tasty tomatoes. It’s a survival thing.

Roses love being watered by a Shrubbler too because they like water delivered below the leaves. This helps keep the roses free of disease, maximizing their health. The low and wide watering pattern produced by the Shrubbler gives your roses plenty of water. I add the EZ-Flo Fertilizer Injector to my system for delivery of fertilizer as the drip system is running. Roses and tomatoes are heavy feeders.

Watch the Shrubbler in action and order your own Rose & Shrub Kit.

Soaker Dripline: Great for Raised Vegetable and Perennial Beds

Everyone at DripWorks loves Soaker Dripline. This 1/4-inch tubing with factory-inserted emitters spaced every 6”, 9” or 12’’ is very versatile, easy to set up and inexpensive. We use soaker dripline in our raised vegetable and perennial beds, around ornamental shrubs in the landscape, in low water-pressure situations and in Smart Pots.

I have Soaker Dripline in my ornamental beds at home because it easily adapts to the curved edges of the landscape. On the ground, simply attach your Soaker Dripline to the mainline with a transfer barb and run it wherever you want.

If you want a quick way to get started, kits provide a simple solution. They provide all the parts and components you need, plus simple instructions. Take a look at items like Garden Bed Kits or Deck Garden Kits. They are undoubtedly your shortest path to garden victory. Also, here’s a video to get you watering right with Soaker Dripline.

The Ein Dor Mini-Sprinkler: Low, Flat Spray Pattern is Perfect for Flower Gardens, Landscapes and Greenhouses

I love the way these mini sprinklers work and never seem to clog. Using them at home has enabled me to have showpiece gardens year after year. The Ein Dor Mini-Sprinkler is perfect for flower gardens because it covers a wide, 7’ to 15’ diameter with a low, flat spray pattern. It’s a beautiful thing to behold.

If you have a greenhouse, Ein Dors can be used for overhead watering (hung upside down) to give off an even distribution of spray. Run the tubing along rafters or girders with our support clamps or attach the tubing to a wire with trellis hangers and run it from one end of the greenhouse to the other.

Check out the video and order some Ein Dor Mini-Sprinklers to get going on your showpiece garden today.

Aqua-Traxx Drip Tape: Uniform Water Distribution Great for Row Crops and Long, Raised Bed

Aqua-Traxx is perfect for row crops and long, raised beds. It provides uniform distribution of water over very long distances. Aqua-Traxx is affordable, durable, and clog-resistant. Another big plus is that it’s inexpensive.

When covered, Aqua-Traxx typically lasts up to seven years. Put it above ground and it lasts two to five years. It’s also great for low-pressure systems. Want some inspiration? Visit our Gallery of Plans to see a few sample layouts and watch our video about the Drip Tape Row Crop Kit.

Emitter Tubing: A Go-To Solution for Big Plantings

Emitter Tubing is the most versatile product for larger plantings available at DripWorks. This product has pressure-compensating emitters that are factory installed inside the tubing. This means the flow will be the same from every emitter, regardless of very long runs of tubing or elevation changes. This feature also eliminates any issues with animals or people knocking off an emitter. It is perfect for hilly terrain, long fence line plantings, landscapes, or multiple plantings such as orchards.

Now it’s Your Turn — Tell Us What You Think

Are you having a good experience with the products on my go-to list? Or maybe you have a favorite product of your own. Share your experience with DripWorks products in the comments section.