The new generation in landscape watering is here. Drip irrigation is the highly efficient delivery of water to plants near their base through flexible polyethylene (poly) tubing fitted with water-dripping devices (emitters) and low-volume micro-sprays. By slowly delivering water exactly where water is needed, drip irrigation minimizes overspray, nearly eliminates evaporation and reduces runoff. All this adds up to dramatically reduced landscape water use.
In addition to water savings, incorporating a drip irrigation system into landscaping has many other benefits, such as encouraging healthier plants. Drip irrigation maintains near-perfect moisture levels in the root zone of plants, enabling them to develop deep roots that are more resistant to dry spells. Eliminating overwatering also helps prevent plant disease and minimizes weed growth.
Drip systems are also flexible and scalable. They’re controlled by hand or by an automatic timer and can effectively irrigate all types of landscape: shrubs, trees, perennial beds, ground covers, annuals and lawns. A drip system can be used to irrigate new landscaping as well as to retrofit an existing traditional sprinkler system. And once a drip system is installed, poly tubing, emitters and micro-sprays can easily be added or removed to accommodate a change in the landscaping layout.
Most drip systems can be installed without special knowledge or tools and require no trenching. The poly tubing is laid out on the ground and covered with mulch or gravel to water trees, shrubs, annual and perennial beds, and ground covers. For drip systems used for lawn irrigation, however, 4- to 6-inch trenches are required for placement of emitter lines. Trenches can be dug by hand, with a mechanical trencher or by other means. If practical, the poly tubing for the lawn can be laid before the final four inches of soil is spread in the lawn area.
Planning and Installation Tips
Indigenous plants and groundcover can make arid landscapes bloom.
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