Drip irrigation systems are used to water a variety of different plants or crops, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone.
Drip irrigation is watering plants or crops precisely and slowly using a network of tube or drip tape, and emitters. Systems can also save water and fertiliser by allowing water to drip slowly.
The installation process requires time and proper planning. And, If not maintained and filtered correctly, driplines can become clogged causing breakages, leaking and loss of plants.
Sub-surface drip irrigation – The tube network is installed below the soil surface and water seeps directly onto the plants root system. This is generally considered a great way to reduce evaporation and save water.
Surface drip irrigation – The tube network is installed above the soil and water is applied directly to the soil surface.
The cost of a drip irrigation system varies depending on size and requirements. Whilst the initial install of the system may be seen as a more expensive option, the long-term savings of using less water and power to run the system can make it more cost-efficient in the long run.
Valves are the heart, they control the flow of water through the lines.
Essentially there are two types, the main division is between On-line Drippers (drippers are mounted on top of lateral pipes) and In-line Drippers (drip emitters that are an integral part of the dripping laterals).
Drip irrigation is highly effective at supplying water per hour directly to the root zones. The system’s advantage over sprinklers is that there is little water loss due to evaporation or runoff.
When it comes to drip irrigation there is not a one-size-fits-all option. Every system will need to be designed to suit specific requirements.
Pros – Saves water by minimizing evaporation. Nutrient losses from leaching is reduced. Can be used in irregularly shaped fields.
Cons – Method cannot be used with high iron content water because emitters become clogged. Maintenance is required to keep the system going. Chewing on tubing from insects and rodents can cause water leaks.
Modern drip irrigation began its development in Germany in 1860 when researchers began experimenting with subsurface irrigation using clay pipe to create combination irrigation and drainage systems.
Drip irrigation is truly beneficial for vegetables.