Drip irrigation is not just for farmers; many homeowners who have small or large gardens can benefit from this watering system. When choosing drip irrigation, there are certain factors you need to consider to have the right system for your garden.
Zoning your system means different irrigation lines service different areas of your garden. This is ideal if you have a variety of plants with different watering needs. You can set each irrigation system independently so they have a faster or slower flow rate. If your garden is not in place, try planning your garden around the irrigation system. You might choose to have four to six lines depending on the needs of your plants.
For example, you may want three separate high-flow lines that service plants in full-sun, partial-sun, and shade areas of your garden. Similarly three separate low-flow lines would be used to service plants based on their need for sun. If your garden is already in place, you may have to compromise on placement by allowing a low water flow to your entire garden and watering plants by hand that need extra hydration.
Hide Your Water Lines
Many people choose to hide their water lines with mulch so the lines are not visible in the garden, but adding a layer of mulch offers an added bonus. This extra layer of covering can minimize water evaporation. Although drip irrigation uses less water and reduces the amount of water that evaporates, you retain extra water in the ground by keeping the line hidden from sunlight. The extra layer of protection is especially important during the warmer months when it can be difficult to keep plants sufficiently hydrated. Since your water line is hidden, it might also be less noticeable to animals that would like to use your garden as their new water source.
Know Your Soil
The soil in your garden will also affect the type of system you install. If your garden is primarily soil, using a moderate flow rate should be fine. In some areas where the soil is harder, such as clay, you should use a lower flow rate because they water will not drain away from the plants as quickly. Other soil conditions, such as sand or similar grainy material will drain much faster and your plants may need a higher flow rate to keep them appropriately hydrated.
Although your soil will greatly affect how much water is retained, you may also need to make adjustments based on the weather. If your soil already drains quickly, you will likely need to increase the flow rate during the warmer months. Conversely, slow-draining soil will need an even lower flow rate during the colder months to prevent ponding of water at the roots and freezing.
Drip irrigation is a low-maintenance way of keeping your plants hydrated throughout the year. Finding the right system and flow rate for your needs will help you maintain an attractive garden.