What is Drip Irrigation System?
A drip irrigation system is a technique through which small amounts of water and fertilizer are uniformly spread in a farm, garden or any specific crop. In a drip irrigation system, water and fertilizer can reach the root zones, which minimizes the chances of water wastage, evaporation and drift. A smartly designed and efficiently managed drip irrigation system delivers excellent results, including uniform application, and savings of water, energy and time. A drip irrigation system also ensures maximum crop yield.
What is Drip Irrigation’s history?
Ancient agricultural text Fan Shengzhi shu written by Fan Shengzhi describes the use of drip irrigation system during the first century BCE. It describes the use of clay pots filled with water and buried in the earth to irrigate the crops. In 1860, the evolution of the modern drip irrigation system began when many researchers began working on subsurface irrigation with the help of clay pipe. In the early 1960s, Richard Chapin developed the first drip tape called Dew Horse. Many agriculture experts believe that the modern drip irrigation system is one of the most valued innovations since impact sprinklers made their way in the 1930s.
How to install drip irrigation to the existing sprinkler system?
You don’t need an expensive and complex irrigation network to water your backyard having plant beds, shrubs and trees. In just a few hours, you can research and know more about how to install drip irrigation to the existing sprinkler system. You can self-design and connect various components to form your drip irrigation system.
There are a couple of options – either you buy your own supplies or buy a ready-made drip irrigation kit available at home maintenance stores. Below is the list of supplies you would need.
- Plastic tubings
- Tubing stakes
- Garden hose
- Automatic timer
- Hose bibs
- Emitter lines
- Barbed connectors
- Pressure regulators
- Hole punch tool
- Backflow preventer
- Hose end-clamps
- Tape measure
Step 1: Design a plan
Make an outline sketch of your garden where you want to install a drip irrigation system. Measure the space and determine the water flow rate required to supply water to your plants and trees.
Step 2: Set up a faucet
The next step is to install a Y-shaped connector at the faucet and further attach other components like the adapter, pressure regulator, backflow preventer, filter, and timer.
Step 3: Set up the tubings
Connect 1/2-inch tubing to the faucet and further spread it across the area as per the sketch. One needs to use T-fittings to create branches and 90-degree bends.
Step 4: Connect the emitters
By using a hole punch, you can make small holes in the tubing at consistent intervals and insert a barbed connector in each of the holes. Further, add 1/4-inch tubing that helps to reach the plant. Attach a dripper, set a determined flow rate and stake the tubing to secure.
If you need expert advice on how to install drip irrigation to the existing sprinkler system, you can connect with professionals from Johnny’s Lawn Care.
Drip Irrigation System Pros and Cons
When it comes to drip irrigation system pros and cons, several points need to be considered. Because the water reaches slowly and gradually to the roots of the plants, the drip irrigation system helps in developing a strong and healthy root system, which further leads to optimum growth of plants and eventually greater yield.
Pros of Drip Irrigation System:
- Uniform distribution of water by controlled output at every nozzle
- Minimal loss of fertilizers and nutrients due to localized supply and reduced leaching
- If the system is managed effectively, water application efficiency is very high
- No need to level the field or backyard
- Even the irregular-shaped areas can be easily irritated
- One can use recycled non-potable water safely
- Type of soil plays a lesser important role in a drip irrigation system,
- Minimal soil erosion is observed
- Weed growth is less
- Optimum moisture in the root areas can be maintained efficiently
- Labour cost to install the system is comparatively less than other irrigation methods
- Foliage remains dry which further reduces the risk of diseases
- Valves and drippers can regulate the supply variation needed.
- Fertigation ensures minimal waste of fertilizers
- Works at lower pressures than other forms of pressurized irrigation, leading to reduced energy costs
Cons of Drip Irrigation System
- The initial cost can be higher than overhead systems
- Exposure to the sun can shorten the life of tubes used in drip irrigation system
- Clogging can be an issue if the water is not optimally filtered and the equipment is not maintained properly.
- Since one cannot observe the water coming out of the drip in the subsurface area, it might lead to either a low or high amount of water getting dripped out. Lesser experienced people who install the system are more likely to face this issue.
- Many fertilizers need sprinkler irrigation for activation. In this case, drip irrigation will not lead to desired results.
- Additional costs can be incurred as harvest may lead to the extra cleanup of drip tapes
- There can be wastage of time, harvest and water if the installation is not done properly
- Drip irrigation system needs a careful and detailed evaluation of factors like land topography, soil, water, crop and agro-climatic conditions
- Installation depth can be a concern in lighter soils subsurface. Water may not be able to wet the soil surface for germination
- PVC pipes are prone to suffer damage from rodents, requiring replacement of the entire tubing
- Moisture distribution can be a problem
- Salinity concerns are likely
Johnny’s Lawn Care is a leading and recommended company when it comes to drip irrigation system installation or irrigation system repair in Jacksonville, FL. Talk to our seasoned professionals and install a smooth and efficient drip irrigation system in your backyard, garden, farm or other areas.