Although it first developed in hot, arid climates, drip irrigation is becoming increasingly popular for growing in all kinds of climates. That’s because drip systems offer high efficiency and can help plants grow better.
Saving Water, Money and the Planet
Because water is applied directly to plants at a slow pace, there is less evaporation and runoff of water from drip irrigating. In fact, studies show drip irrigation can cut water use and water bills by 30 to 50%.
Besides providing more efficiency, drip watering can help plants grow better. Because irrigation can be targeted at specific plants, there will be less moisture available elsewhere in the soil to encourage growth of weeds. Fewer nutrients will be washed out of the soil too. And because drip irrigation provides water at ground or root level rather than from above, it can help prevent the spread of plant disease and problems like powdery mildew that can be caused by overhead watering with sprinklers, hoses and other methods.
All in all, that’s a package too attractive to pass up for many home gardeners as well as for commercial operations like nurseries and farms. Also sometimes called micro irrigation, drip irrigation depends on a similarly named component called micro drip tubing.
What is micro drip tubing and how does it work? Read on for answers from DripWorks.
It’s a Small World
It’s simple, really. As the name implies, micro tubing is simply drip irrigation tubing that is really small. In this case, we’re talking about diameter. Usually micro tubing is defined as 1/4” or 1/8” tubing.
Micro drip tubing typically is made of polyethylene, which is a tough but flexible plastic. That means it will stand up to the rigors of garden and farm use but can also be easily handled and adjusted to put it where you want it. Most micro tubing is black. Some tubing has been reported to last up to 30 years, but in really sunny hotspots like Florida, four or five years might be a better estimate of life expectancy.
Typically, micro drip tubing is sold in rolls. Different lengths are available. Typically you will be able to choose among 50’, 100’, 500’ and 1,000’ lengths. As with most products, the more you buy, the more you will save on a per-foot basis. Of course, you should only purchase what you need for your current and anticipated needs. A product you buy at a great price is no bargain if it just sits around.
Micro Tubes, Macro Benefits
What the heck is micro drip tubing good for? We’re glad you asked. Quarter-inch micro drip tubing is a necessity for most drip irrigation systems. This size of micro drip tubing is often used to connect drip emitters, misters, sprayers and mini-sprinklers to mainline tubing. It occurs in all kinds of applications, from vegetable gardens and flow beds to farms and vineyards.
Another popular size is 1/8” micro tubing. This size often is used to connect1/8" Spot Spitters, or Pot Drippers in drip irrigation systems to mainline tubing. Both of these attachments are great for watering plants in containers. Pot drippers are preferred for small and medium pots, while spot spitters are frequently used for larger pots. That makes them ideal for commercial growers as well as home gardeners.