15 Advantages of Drip Irrigation
A little Inspiration
In this post I have for you 15 advantages of using dripline irrigation systems. If you have considered putting one in but haven’t gotten around to it yet hopefully these 15 reasons will inspire you to get your drip on.
In a Nutshell
I want to quickly cover what a drip line irrigation system is for those unfamiliar with them.
At its simplest a drip irrigation system is an irrigation hose that runs next to the base of plants and is attached to a water source that provides an even/slow drip of irrigation the plants root zone.
Drip irrigation systems use approximately 30-50% less water than other forms of watering
The two main kind of systems are:
Connection to Water - Source Single Zone
Once you have the decided on which kind of hose you want to go with the fastest and simplest way to start is with a single zone.
This would consist of a one hose that snakes through out your garden with just one connection point to its water source.
Connection to Water - Multizone Zone
If you really want to ‘set it and forget it’ you can opt for an irrigation controller which allows you to program from 1 to 4 zones to your liking.
Variations and Options
There are all sorts of variations of driplines. Most of the parts and pieces are interchangeable and there are always adapters to use when necessary.
There are a lot of kits available that are great for beginners or you can buy the parts independently and create your own set up. Its easy.
What I do
Personally, on one side of my property I have four zones set up, two of which are soaker hoses and two lines that have inline emitters. I have mixed and matched many different combinations to meet my irrigation requirements and will continue to do so has needed.
Here’s the list…
1. Saves Water
Drip irrigation systems use approximately 30-50% less water than other forms of watering. They allow you to efficiently target exactly where you want to irrigate. Additionally, drip lines eliminate evaporation from sprinklers of the water that never reaches your plants.
2. Prevents Soil Erosion
Drip irrigation provides an easy, continuous trickle of water that effectively eliminates surface pooling, runoff, and soil erosion.
3. Nutrient Runoff Minimized
By preventing runoff, drip lines also mitigate the depletion of soil nutrients/fertilizers by up to 50%. The slow drip feed of water effectively helps nutrients percolate deeply into the soil reaching plants roots.
4. Healthier Vegetation
Using sprinklers ends up leaving the plant leaves wet long after you finish watering which causes discoloring, spotting, fungal diseases. Drip irrigation delivers water directly to the plant base leaving the leaves dry and eliminates these issues.
Additionally, drip lines create ideal growing conditions by providing a smaller amount of water over a longer period. This allows the continuous flow of water to penetrate deeply into the soil and reach the plants root zone.
5. Higher Consistent Quality Yields
With drip irrigation you can reach all of you plants with an equal amounts of what which allows your to maximize your crops yield.
6. Seed Germination Is Improved
If you are sowing directly into your garden, then you’ll want to keep the seeds as moist as possible during their germination period. Seeds need to absorb water to germinate properly which is called as imbibition or the taking up of liquid causing swelling. Water activates enzymes in the seeds causing them to swell and release energy from its food storage for growth.
7. Reduces Weeds
Nobody likes weeds in their garden and drip lines starve weeds of water by providing it only to the plants. It won’t completely eliminate weeds, but it does make it a lot harder for them to thrive and grow.
8. Eliminates Soil Leveling and Drainage
Conventional irrigation can leave a lot of pooled water on the soils surface. This requires you to install drainage and properly level your garden to prevent standing water. Drip irrigation eliminates these labor-intensive tasks since the water is being directly delivered to the base of the plants. Drip irrigation allows 100% land utilization and is an excellent choice for watering on hillside slopes.
9. Uses Low Pressure
Drip irrigation reduces energy cost since it utilizes low pressure and does not require pressure tanks as some sprinkler systems do.
10. Saves Time
Once you have your drip line installed you are good to go. No need to move sprinklers and deal with cumbersome garden hoses. To make it even simpler you can header a set of drip lines to one spigot and add a timer. A timer allows you to program your system for automatic irrigation which saves you time and water.
11. Easy to install
Drip irrigation systems are extremely easy to install. At its simplest it’s just a matter of laying out the tubing, possibly securing it in place with stakes and then connecting it to a water source. Depending on the system you purchase it may come with other parts like tees, couplings, end clamps, and goof plugs. However, even the more sophisticated systems are still simple to assemble and layout.
Drip systems are extremely portable and customizable. If you do succession planting (Second-Season Crops) or just decide to change your garden layout it easy to adapt the system to the new layout.
13. Minimum Cost and Quick Return On Investment (ROI)
Drip line systems are very affordable. The cost will depend upon on how sophisticated a system you choose. As of the writing of this post a simple system is from $30 to $75 with more complex systems in the $150 to $200 range. Whatever system you choose most will pay for themselves in one season with the water it saves you.
14. Use Rainwater and Greywater Water
Properly filtered rainwater and greywater are great sources for use with driplines. Check out my post on greywater systems.
15. Greater Predictability
With drip lines you are not dependent on rain or your ability to reach all the plants equally with sufficient water.
The takeaway I want you to have from this post is that putting in a dripline system is easy and affordable. You can do this.
If you still are a little concerned about getting it right, I highly recommend buying a kit., most come with instructions.
Remember you can do it in phases, start with a single zone and expand from there. I think you may find it fun to plan, install and use I know I do.