Using drip irrigation | Living the Country Life

Using drip irrigation

widely available and better designed for home gardens than ever before

Drip or microirrigation

Drip or microirrigation systems are more widely available and better designed for home gardens than ever before. Drip technology uses plastic pipes to carry a low flow of water under low pressure to plants. Water is applied more slowly than with sprinkler irrigation. This maintains a desirable balance of air and water in the soil, according to Colorado State University. Plants grow better with this favorable air-water balance and even soil moisture.

Traditionally used in commercial vegetable farms and orchards, micro-irrigation systems are now used in landscapes, vegetable and flower gardens, and for small fruits and trees. When combined with a controller, drip irrigation systems can be easily managed.

Emitters must be placed so water reaches the roots of plants. For new plantings, make sure emitters are placed over the root-ball. A greater number of emitters is needed with larger plants. A medium-size tree may require four emitters 2 feet from the trunk. Large trees may be impractical to irrigate with drip because of extensive root systems.

Placement is also related to whether the soil is sand or clay. Locate emitters 12 inches apart in sand, 18 inches apart in loam, and 24 inches apart in clay.

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