Drip irrigation is a great way to save water and keep your plants healthy and thriving. Drip technology has come a long way since those old soaker hoses. Read on to find out how landscape dripline can make it easy for you to add efficient drip irrigation to your yard and garden...
Landscape dripline, also called drip emitter tubing or inline emitter tubing, is an ideal way to water closely spaced plants, such as vegetable gardens or densely planted shrubs and ground cover. The use of dripline is on the rise, as people look for more ways to conserve water in their yards without having to give up beautiful plants and shrubs.
Unlike soaker hoses that are made from porous recycled rubber, landscape dripline is extruded from high quality polyethylene material to help it last longer under the sun's harsh UV rays. Water drips out slowly and precisely from special drip emitters that are embedded inside the tubing at regular intervals - usually every 12,18 or 24 inches apart. As the water drips out from the emitters, it slowly spreads throughout the soil to evenly water your plants right at the roots.
By using pressure-compensating emitters, landscape dripline ensures that the same amount of water will come out evenly along the full length of the tubing, from beginning to end, up to 300 feet. With soaker hoses or non-pressure compensating dripline, you often get higher flow rates (more water) at the beginning of the tubing and less water as it moves farther down the tubing. This can result in uneven watering and uneven plant growth, or even worse, unhealthy plants.
Dripline connects easily to your outdoor hose faucet or an existing underground sprinkler system. It is usually laid out in a grid pattern. Simply cut tubing to your desired length and connect these long "laterals" together with barbed couplings, tees and elbow fittings. A good rule of thumb is to space the laterals as far apart as the emitter spacing; in other words, if the inline emitters are 18" apart, you should space the lateral lines 18" away from each other.
For narrower areas, simply run a length of dripline right down the middle of the area. It can be staked down to keep it in place and covered by a layer of mulch to hide it from view. Best of all, if any plants need extra water, you can insert spot watering emitters into the dripline to bring additional water directly to plants that need it.
To select the right dripline for your application, you need to consider two things: emitter spacing and water flow rate. Loose, porous soils (sandy, sandy loam) generally require closer emitter spacing and a higher flow rate since water soaks in faster, while dense, compact soils (clay, clay loam) require farther emitter spacing and a lower flow rate. Emitter spacing is usually 12, 18 or 24 inches apart, while flow rates are either 0.6 GPH (gallons per hour) or 0.9 GPH.
A properly designed and maintained irrigation system will help keep your yard beautiful all season long, saving you time, effort and most importantly, water.