Drip irrigation sends an even, deep supply of water directly to the root zone of the plant without waste or runoff. It uses up to 50% less water than conventional systems; spares plants the stress caused by the wet-dry cycles of overhead watering; and minimizes erosion, soil compaction, leaf burn, mold, and fungal diseases.
Drip irrigation, especially when the line is buried, significantly reduces weeds by watering deeply instead of on the surface (weed seeds have less access to water needed for germination).
What drip irrigation system is right for me?
Before you install your system, you need to ascertain the flow (how many gallons per minute) you are getting from your main water line. This will help you determine how many emitters you can run at one time. An easy way to calculate this is by running water, and measuring the time it takes to fill a bucket. Divide the bucket size in gallons by the seconds it takes to fill the container, and then multiply the result by 60. Example: If your 4-gallon bucket fills in 40 seconds you have 6 GPM.
Evaluate the sediment content in your water so you can select the proper filter set-up. You should have a vacuum breaker installed at the beginning of your irrigation system to prevent backflow which can contaminate your water supply, especially if you are connected to a well and use a fertilizer injector. Make a scale drawing of your area so that you can visualize the location of buildings, pathways, water sources, and existing planted areas. Grouping plants with similar water requirements will aid in your selection of irrigation parts. Similarly, you should plan whether your planting will be on a slope or not.
Drip Irrigation Installation Tips
Hand tighten irrigation parts. Tools may damage the threads.
Lay 1⁄2" poly tubing or 1/2" emitter line in the sun before installing it to make it more pliable. It will lie flat when you install it and be easier to insert into the fittings.
Cut poly tubing with sharp shears or pruning tools so that fittings fit securely.
Use a hole punch rather than a sharp instrument (such as an ice pick) to make holes in the 1⁄2" tubing to attach any other tubing or fittings. Your attachments will be much more secure, preventing leaks.
Power-Loc™ fittings for the 1⁄2" poly tubing or emitter line are installed by slipping tubing over the fitting and then screwing the clamp to secure the connection. Soaker Hose fittings fit slip inside the soaker hose tubing. Drip Tape fittings use a loc-sleeve device that slides over the Drip Tape.