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If you want to make your plants or vegetables healthy and productive, then it’s time to start thinking about getting an irrigation system set up. While there are many types of irrigation systems out there, none are as efficient and easy to maintain as drip irrigation systems.
In order to determine whether or not drip irrigation systems will be right for you, here are ten reasons why you should consider drip irrigation over any other type of irrigation system out there.
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1) How much water will I save?
These days, conservation is top of mind for many homeowners, and drip irrigation systems are a great way to reduce water consumption without sacrificing valuable crops. This method delivers water directly to plants’ roots via micro-tubing placed near—or even under—the soil.
In contrast, conventional sprinkler systems deliver large amounts of water above ground, where most of it evaporates or is absorbed by dirt, grass, and concrete. By using drip irrigation instead of sprinklers, you can potentially save thousands of gallons over time with little impact on crop yield.
A rule of thumb for calculating your savings with drip irrigation is that you’ll use 25 percent less water than traditional methods; in some cases (as in vegetable gardens), it’s possible to decrease your use by as much as 50 percent.
2) What kinds of plants will it work with?
There are a number of different kinds of plants that can benefit from drip irrigation systems, ranging from decorative landscaping to field crops.
But what kinds of plants will drip irrigation work with best? The answer depends on how much water each plant needs; for example, you wouldn’t want to water tomatoes using a drip system since their root systems aren’t capable of absorbing water at such a slow rate (tomatoes need lots of water).
On the other hand, many ornamental plants or leafy greens grow well with drips, because they have shallow roots and don’t need as much water.
3) Is it worth it for my garden?
Every year, water costs are on an upward trend. In fact, more than 50% of homeowners are willing to spend $500 or more to install a drought-resistant landscape. However, many people aren’t sure if it is worth it for their garden. The best way to find out if drip irrigation is right for you and your lawn is to consider its many benefits and advantages over traditional sprinkler systems.
4) Does it cost more upfront?
Drip irrigation can cost more upfront, but there are a number of reasons why it may end up saving you time and money over time. In a nutshell, drip irrigation lets you use significantly less water than traditional methods while keeping your plants healthy and productive. The financial savings add up quickly, which is why drip irrigation is a smart investment for homeowners with big gardens or acres of crops. However, whether or not you should invest in drip technology depends largely on your individual situation, as well as your watering needs—so we suggest consulting with an expert for advice tailored to your garden’s soil type and climate zone.
5) Is it simple to install?
Some systems, like traditional sprinklers and drip, require installation by a professional irrigation contractor. This can be costly in both time and money. Investing in a complete do-it-yourself system, like drip irrigation or rain barrels, will cost a little more upfront but could save you money on water bills and install costs.
Many people use a combination of both to further reduce their overall costs. No matter what type of watering system you go with, consider that it’s not just how much water your garden uses but also how much of it is actually delivered to your plants’ roots where it needs to be used most efficiently.
6) Can I install it myself?
While an experienced irrigation installer will have no problem setting up a drip system, for anyone who isn’t familiar with plumbing, it can be challenging. A good way to make sure you’re doing things correctly is to pick up a book on installing drip irrigation (you can find plenty of resources online).
Or do what most DIYers do: Ask around and see if someone you know has already set one up. The more experienced people you ask, the better your chance is of finding someone who’s willing to share his or her knowledge with you. And, hey—if all else fails, there are plenty of places that offer professional installation services.
7) Do I need special supplies?
Unless you already have a system in place to deliver water or fertilizer, you will likely need new supplies. If you are planting an established landscape, a drip irrigation system can be added to an existing sprinkler network.
A timer is required for any kind of drip irrigation system. Another piece of equipment that may be needed is a filter (like a screen) to prevent debris from clogging up your tubing and emitters. For your supply line and filter, it’s usually best to work with professionals who will come out and survey your area before installing anything new.
8) Where can I buy parts and supplies?
Parts and supplies for drip irrigation systems can be purchased from a variety of places. The easiest place to buy parts is usually your local hardware store. While most hardware stores do not have large drip-irrigation sections, they do carry many of the parts you’ll need, including basic hoses, couplers, and quick connectors.
To ensure you have access to any specialty parts you might need (such as emitters or timers), it’s a good idea to get in touch with your local irrigation company early on. Many companies offer online shopping and shipping services so you don’t even have to leave your house!
9) What kind of repairs will I need over time?
When considering a drip irrigation system, it’s important to consider what kinds of repairs will be needed over time. Some systems require more frequent maintenance than others. If you are looking for an irrigation solution that doesn’t require regular upkeep and you don’t want to worry about repairs, a battery-powered option may be right for you.
These systems may cost more upfront but they’re typically less expensive over time because they don’t need any new parts or fixes. They can also be placed in difficult-to-reach areas, like on top of a hill or next to thick vegetation, where other types of irrigation setups would be too difficult or costly to maintain.
10) How do I know if my system is working properly?
The best and easiest way to tell if your drip irrigation system is working properly is by monitoring your water consumption. If you’re using a timer, check its settings regularly. There are three main types of timers: Fixed start time – each zone starts at a fixed time (e.g., every morning) fixed length of time – each zone is active for a set length of time (e.g., all day).
A variety of settings can be applied to create different run times, such as 8 hours on and 4 hours off Perpetual run – each zone runs continuously until it’s manually turned off or timed out based on run times programmed into the controller.
The above article was first published here.
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