WATER ! Accurately AppliedWhere and When You Want It
What is Drip Irrigation?Drip irrigation is a method of applying slow,steady and precise amounts of water andnutrients to specific areas oftrees, shrubs, vegetable gardens, groundcovers or potted plants.
Drip Irrigation for the HomeLandscape and Garden
Benefits of Drip Irrigation• Water savings, since only those areas directly around plant’s root zone are irrigated.• Plants undergo less stress from variations in soil moisture.• Slow application rate prevents excess surface water build-up and reduces evaporation.• Weed growth is reduced because areas between plants are not irrigated.• System’s low flow rate allows irrigation of larger areas and more plants can be watered at once.• The water application rate can be tailored to fit each individual plant if necessary.
Drip Irrigation System DesignThere is no one right way to design a system.Each person must judge for themselves the kindOf system that would work the best for them.Water cost, water availability, component andinstallation costs and maintenance skill levelrequirements are all factors to be consideredwhen deciding which system to use.
Example Garden Drip IrrigationApplications – Using PVC Pipes Traditional Garden Raised Beds
Major Benefits of Drip Systems• Water Savings: 75% >• Weeding time saved: 90%• Hand watering time saved: 90%• Healthier plants due to consistent watering amounts and schedules
Examples of Water-Delivery Components for Home Gardens < Soaker Hoses >Emitters-Drippers ¼” “Weep Tubing” Micro-Sprinklers
A Simple One-Zone Drip Watering System Soaker Hoses – Usually Installed Under Mulch The Timer and Valve UnitThe above photo shows the main water line (1),the battery-powered timer control unit and valve (2),the filter (3), and pressure regulator (4). Other essentialcomponents of the system (not shown) include thebackflow preventer, which here is located at the mainwater supply, and the distribution tubing to additionalsoaker hoses and/or micro-sprinklers as needed. A Micro-Sprinkler
Timers and Control ValvesA Battery Powered A 110V Timer forSingle-Zone Timer Multiple Zones Two Anti-siphon Valves and Pressure Reducers with a Connected Timer – Allows Independent Watering of Two Zones Note: A “Zone” is one part of a drip system, controlled by one valve
Commonly Used Low-Cost Parts ¼” Distribution Tubing Micro-Sprinklers with Mounting Stakes Emitters/Drippers ¼” “Weep Tubing” ¼” Tubing FittingsEmitters/Drippers are used to apply water slowly over a relatively long time, typically 1-4GPH (Gallon per hour) each. Micro-Sprinklers , “Weep Tubing” and Soaker Hoses are usedto apply more water in a shorter time, typically 5 GPH and up, depending on the micro-sprinkler head type, or the length of weep tubing or soaker hose used. Emitters should notbe mixed in one zone with other types of delivery components such as weep tubing,micro-sprinklers or soaker hoses, due to the different water-application times needed.
Commonly Used Low-Cost Parts 1/2” Main Distribution Tubing Pressure Reducer (Typically 25 psi) 1/2” Tubing FittingsWater FilterUsed to prevent cloggingof emitters/drippers andother distributioncomponents.Not Shown: Adapters between differentpipe threads and/or sizes of pipe.
Drip Irrigation Using Spot Emitters/DrippersEmitters/drippers are placed close to each plant, accurately dispensingwater without the evaporative waste of overhead sprinklers or irrigation“ditches” between rows. Special tubing is available with emitters built-inat regular intervals, or single emitters can be placed on standard tubingat needed intervals to accommodate randomly-spaced plants. If mulchis used, emitters should be under the mulch to minimize evaporation.
Drip Irrigation Micro-Sprinklers Some Micro-Sprinkler Types in ActionMicro-Sprinklers are placed on plastic stakes and positioned to cover arelatively small area. They are most useful for watering shorter plants andground covers. Lengths of ¼” tubing from the main distribution tubing tothe sprinklers should be long enough to allow re-positioning as plantsgrow. Available coverage patterns include ¼, ½, full circle and adjustable-output “drippers” (at right). Many allow adjustment of their output volume.Water patterns should be kept as low as possible to minimize evaporation.
Drip Irrigation for Pots or Containers 1/4” “Weep Tubing” can be coiled in the pots before or after planting. Emitters/drippers may also be used in pots or containers.The results are worth the initial effort – and watering is much easier thereafter!
So… You Can Go On Summer Vacations! Design and install your own automatic drip watering system. Test and monitor it for a week or two. Make adjustments as needed. Then go onvacation, knowing your precious plants will be watered in your absence! Let your little “Garden Watering Gnome” think that he has done the caretaking in your absence. (Don’t tell him, but you know it was your new drip watering system that really did it!)
Acknowledgements The “Blue Background” slides in this PowerPoint presentation were adapted from a Utah State Cooperative Extension document written by Jeffry E. Banks, USU Extension Agent Juab County, Nephi, UtahAdaptations to the original slides have been made in this presentation with Mr. Banks permission, and additional slides added, in order to acquaint the small garden orhome landscape owner with the benefits of low-cost drip watering in the smaller-scale environment July, 2012 D. Moland, Jefferson County Master Gardener
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