From Dean Dowd on April 28, 2008 in Landscaping
Having spent endless hours watering neighborhood plants and lawns as a teenager, I speak from experience when I say drip irrigation systems and timers are a lifesaver. Although it was a great summer job for a young girl, I now have no interest in moving hoses all summer. It may require more work and investment initially, but installing a drip system will lead to healthier plants and a lower water bill when you are finished. Drip irrigation systems work by slowly dripping small amounts of water into the soil beneath the plants. Because it is a slow process, the plant gets a deeper, more thorough form of watering. This method is 90% efficient as it allows very little waste or evaporation. A typical irrigation system consists of the following elements:
- Valve - located at the water top of the mainline and used to turn the system on/off.
- Backflow preventer - needed to prevent water and debris from backwashing and clogging the system.
- Pressure regulator - drip irrigation hoses and emitters are very narrow and water pressure that is too strong will cause damage.
- Filter - aids greatly in preventing your hoses and emitters from becoming clogged; reducing your maintenance.
- Emitters - the emitter is where the water is dispersed onto the plant. There are different options available in emitters, allowing you to choose a model that conserves water while meeting all of your needs.
- Mainline - the pipe that connects the water source with the valve.
- Sub-main - the portion that connects the mainline with the drip tubing, and is normally only needed on larger systems.
- Adapters and fittings - the small parts that tie everything together, such as joints.
- End cap - goes at the end of the line so to say and maintains the pressure throughout the system.
Timers are wonderful inventions, allowing you the freedom to come and go as you please without stressing over your plants dying. Unfortunately for all of those teenagers needing summer jobs, you can now go on vacation worry-free. Select a timer that includes different stations, allowing you to program different portions of your yard for individual needs. Systems offer a variety of features, including a back-up battery, default program, non-volatile memory, water budgeting, rain-delay with rain sensors and a shut-off feature, and a remote control.
Work with your landscaping contractor to install an efficient, functional system that encourages your yard to thrive.