The long and cold winter is fast fading away. Your yard is all set to wake-up from the winter sleep and ready to welcome the new sprigs, plants, and grass. The spring care routine is an essential task to ensure a healthy yard for the rest of the year. Along with the raking, liming, fertilizing, and mowing, proper irrigation is an essential part of lawn care. Hand watering, overhead sprinklers, soaker hoses, and drip irrigation are the most commonly used yard irrigation methods. It is vital to follow correct irrigation techniques that will help you to save water and grow a healthy lawn.
There is an increasing water scarcity experienced by the areas, especially throughout the Southwest regions of the USA. Such a paucity of water demands an efficient and eco-friendly irrigation method that is feasible. Considering the high desert climate of Santa Fe, drip irrigation systems could be your best answer to watering the yard. Drip irrigation is ideal for use in the high desert climate of Santa Fe, particularly given the scarcity and expense of water throughout the Southwest. Drip irrigation systems are one of the most efficient ways of utilizing water. Drip irrigation is a type of low flow irrigation system. In this technique, pipes, valves, and tubes deliver water directly to the roots of the plants. It is achieved either by dripping water on the surface or by burying the whole system below the soil.
Some of the advantages of using drip irrigation for lawns outlined below:
- Drip irrigation helps to save much of water.
- Since there is no evaporation and overspray, almost 100% of the water is soaked up by the soil.
- The installation does not involve deep excavations and does not affect or disrupt the land.
- Drip irrigation systems eliminate the effects of wind drifts. Water does not spill to unwanted areas like driveways, footpaths, and windows.
- Drip irrigation diminishes the growth of weeds since the water is provided only to specific plants.
- Drip irrigation systems do not cause erosion or runoff of soil. The fertility of the land is maintained
- The drip system is directly connected to the hose spigot eliminating the need to cut home water line
- There are customized drip irrigation systems available for raised beds, vegetable rows, container plants, landscape plants, and hedges.
- A water-efficient drip irrigation system coupled with an automatic timer saves on the watering bills and cares for plants even when owners are not at home.
Types of drip irrigation systems:
According to the landscape and the water needs of the yard, you can opt for different drip irrigation methods:
- Button drippers: these are attached to the end of a length of tubing or directly connected to the mainline.
- Function: button drippers provide a steady and controlled water supply to plants
- Best for: these are best for gardens and lawns
- Bubblers: bubblers can be attached only to the end of a length of tubing.
- Function: bubblers find common usage in spraying light streams of water in multiple directions
- Best for: they are best for delivering water to trees, shrubs, and flower beds
- Misters: similar to bubblers, misters are also attached to the end of a length of tubing
- Function: misters are used to producing a mist or a spray to water the plants
- Best for: they are best for your gardens, ferns, and all the perennials
In case you already have a previously installed underground sprinkler in place, you can convert it to support drip irrigation. There are conversion kits available in the market that contain components to replace sprinkler heads with manifolds.
Parts of a drip irrigation system:
As mentioned above, there are different irrigation kits available to suit the varying needs of your yard. You can either opt for that or customize the system according to your requirements. A simple drip irrigation kit consists of the following parts:
- Backflow preventers or anti-siphon devices- it prevents the re-entry of the irrigation system’s water into the household water supply and contaminating it
- Pressure regulators- makes the home water pressure compatible with the drip irrigation. It ensures smooth water flow in the house and yard.
- Filters- to prevent clogging of tubing and emitters
- Fittings to connect the different components of the system
- Stakes- safeguards the tubing and emitters from clogging by soil, debris or bugs
- Risers- helps in the elevation of emitters above the plants
- Timers to set the time for on and off of the system. Timers play a vital role in the prevention of overwatering and wastage of water.
- Hole punches- to create insertion points for emitters and tubes
- Plugs to secure the unwanted holes
- Emitters- helps in the discharge of water into the soil and plants
Installing a drip irrigation system in your yard:
There are many affordable and easy to install systems available for you. The installation process is quite simple.
- Planning for drip irrigation- this step involves creating a rough sketch of your yard. Start by measuring the yard and understanding the water needs of the plants therein. Cover all the root zones of the plants. Divide the yard into zones containing plants with similar watering needs. Then, decide on the type of watering devices.
- Purchasing the components- according to the design, buy a basic kit or customize your drip system. It is essential to decide the flow rate before procuring parts.
- Follow the manufacturer’s guide for installation- start with the outside faucet, lay the tubing based on the sketch, and position the emitters with required spacing. Use the micro-irrigation catalogs for connecting the drippers, bubblers, and sprayers.
- After installation, flush the lines to clear the debris before you use it.
- Proper maintenance is vital for the longevity of the drip irrigation system.
Even though drip irrigation systems are one of the most efficient irrigation techniques, there are a few points of caution to consider:
- Since the outlets are tiny, they are prone to clogging. Hence, the recommendation is to flush out the system every few months
- Drip irrigation is not a very feasible option for lawns and sprawling gardens as it won’t be able to disperse water for such large areas effectively
- There are chances of high salt content pumped directly to plant roots
Drip Irrigation from ‘The Firebird’
Visit ‘The Firebird’ and tour our demonstration garden in front of the store. This garden showcases the use of drip irrigation for watering trees, shrubs, flowers, and vegetables. Interpretative signage explains various applications of drip irrigation components. All the systems are left exposed for easy visibility. Several different irrigation controllers are illustrated, including a climate control weather station. We carry several thousand components from more than 60 global manufacturers.
The Firebird address is: 1808 Espinacitas St, Santa Fe (Phone: 505.983.5264). Our temporary working hours are 9:00 am to 1:00 pm from Monday through Friday.
Water Whys: A great introduction to drip irrigation systems with helpful design tips
Emitter Spray Specs: List of various emitters and micro-sprays
Tubing PVC Specs: List of various tubing and PVC specs