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Drip Irrigation - How to Plan and Install Low Water Irrigation
Drip Irrigation -- Relief for Summer GardensDrip irrigation is used to describe any low pressure system that applies water in a controlled area. It is the most efficient water saving system available, saving up to 70% in outdoor water use. That is important as water bills rise and our water tables shrink!
Originally developed in the 1960s by Israel for their arid climate, it has gained popularity with low-water gardeners not only for efficiency but also for ease of installation and usage. If your existing watering system is unreliable or inefficient, install a drip irrigation system for your shrubs and trees. It will save time, water and energy!
The most important feature of the drip system is that it applies water very slowly. It allows the water to be absorbed into the soil with deep penetration.
Drip irrigation can maintain near perfect moisture levels in the root zone of plants. It avoids the too-wet, too-dry cycle of overhead watering. Very little water is lost to evaporation with a drip system.
Walkways and soil areas between plants remain dry when the drip system is working. This allows for a reduction in weed growth and makes cultivation possible during and immediately after the irrigation cycle.
A drop system not only saves water usage, but it saves you time. Drip systems can be put on automatic controls and you can continue with your busy lifestyle and not have the headache of wondering if the sprinkler system is watering the roses or the driveway.
HOW TO PLAN AND INSTALL DRIP IRRIGATION
The most important part of the system is the emitters. Over the years emitters have become very sophisticated, each geared for specific jobs in the system.
Drip emitters are available for flow rates of 1/2 to 4 gallons per hour. These emitters drip water on specific plants such as trees, shrubs and container plants.
Misters spray water at 2-5 gph. Use their fine spray on ferns and other plants that require frequent irrigation. But remember even a light breeze can cause the mist to turn to drip so operate in the early morning or in protected areas.
Minisprays come in several spray patterns: 90, 180 and 360 degrees as well as specialized patterns -- a narrow strip, for example. These throw water a distance of 4-10 feet and the flow rates vary from 3 to 30 gph. Minisprays are positioned 10 to 15 inches above the soil and held by a stake. Use them in large beds and ground-cover areas along with...
Minisprinklers which water a full circle by spinning small droplets or streams in a 360 degree arc. These are least affected by the wind and should be considered for large beds only.
There are other components that make your system self-reliant. Install a system shut-off valve, which controls the entire drip system. It allows you to shut off the system to repair or expand it without turning off the water to the house.
A backflow preventer is recommended for all watering systems that are connected to drinking water.
The most common is the anti-siphon device that eliminates the possibility of back flow of irrigation water into the drinking water system.
The filter and pressure regulator are necessary parts of the head assembly. Even when water is usually free of sediment it can still occasionally send particles large enough to block your system.
Y-line filters are better than in-line filters, because you don't have to take the system apart to clean them.
And remember drip irrigation systems operate at a water pressure of 20 to 30 pounds per square inch (psi). House water ranges from 50 - 100 psi. A pressure regulator is needed to reduce and regulate the pressure. It greatly expands the life of tubing and fittings as well as reducing leads and pressure blowouts.
Most garden centers carry a full line of drip irrigation parts and tubing and will be happy to help you design a system that answers your garden's needs and relieves you from spending your summer at the end of a garden hose.
ENJOYA million shades of green -- it is in our genes to enjoy greenery. Aaaahhhh :=)
LEARNHow will weather patterns change in your region with the onslaught of global warming? Droughts are already ravaging many communities. How can you adjust your lawn and garden procedures to preserve your precious supply of water?
MAKE A CHOICEChoice is character during abundant times. Necessity can be devastating if we haven't thought ahead and made wise choices when we had the chance.
MAKE A CHANGEWhat WILL you do today to move toward your goal? Even one small action today makes a difference. And you can add a little tomorrow and the next day... Together we will restore our environment in our community and around the world.
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Walk Gently with the Earth
Weather and Temperature are Linked to Landscaping