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If you’re installing new gardens or updating existing spaces this spring, it’s time to upgrade the way you water too. Using drip irrigation in your landscape, flower and vegetables gardens is the most efficient way to get your plants the moisture they need to thrive.
What is drip irrigation?
Agriculture professionals have relied on this type of irrigation for years for one key reason: drip irrigation delivers water right where it can help the plant most. With a drip irrigation system, water travels through tubes and is delivered by emitters in a slow and steady manner directly to the plant’s root system. “This direct-to-root delivery system is an effective way to water,” says Alexis Deasy, senior marketing communications manager at Toro. “Research shows that drip irrigation is up to 90% more efficient than other watering methods. The slower delivery allows you to water deeply. Plants can take up the moisture more effectively, reducing plant stress and promoting healthy growth.” There is also less water waste with drip irrigation. “Drip systems are less prone to runoff and evaporation,” adds Deasy. “The water stays where it is needed, which is better for the environment and can save money too.”
Where should I install drip irrigation?
Just about any landscape area can benefit from drip irrigation. It is especially effective in flower beds, vegetable gardens and landscape areas with trees, shrubs, and perennials. You can even install drip to water raised bed gardens, containers and hanging baskets.
Drip irrigation can be tied into an existing underground sprinkler system and run with the system’s timer. It can also be attached to a water spigot outside the house using a water source installation kit. Turning the drip system on is as easy as turning the handle. This type of system can also be automated with a hose-end timer.
Is installation easy?
Installing drip irrigation can be a DIY project. The first step is to connect to a water source, such as an outdoor faucet or to a zone in your irrigation system. Toro offers a Blue Stripe® Drip Water Source Installation Kit that provides everything you need to connect to a faucet. You could also use a Blue Stripe Drip Zone Valve Kit to connect to your sprinkler system.
Next, you’ll run tubing to deliver the water to your garden spaces. Products such as Toro’s Blue Stripe Drip Tubing is installed above ground, so there is no digging involved. The tubing can then be covered with mulch for a cleaner look.
Once the tubing is distributed, you’ll connect the tubing to emitters. Emitters deliver the water directly to the plants. There are several different types of emitters to choose from. Three of the most common are drip emitters, bubblers, and micro-sprays. Drip emitters deliver water slowly, making them especially effective for watering individual flowers and vegetables both in ground and in containers. Because they can emit larger water volumes, bubblers are great for watering trees and shrubs. Micro-sprays can reach a larger area while still being efficient. They work well in densely planted areas such as a perennial garden, herb garden or vegetable patch.
If installing drip irrigation isn’t a task you want to tackle, talk with your local professional irrigation installer. These pros can make this efficient way to water part of your in-ground system and offer programing ideas and general watering tips.
Want to learn more about smart watering techniques? Learn how to Protect Your Landscaping Investment with Smart Watering.