Irrigating residential trees and shrubs is among the most consumptive water uses in most cities and towns. Drip irrigation systems use as little as one half of the water volume typically consumed by conventional sprinkler systems. If you use a well for irrigation, drip irrigation saves water and also reduces your electricity costs for pumping.
Drip irrigation is an integral part of an tree-planting strategy for reducing lawn watering. The trees shade the lawns and the drip irrigation helps the trees to grow rapidly and form effective shading canopies.
Drip irrigation supplies water directly to individual plants rather than wetting the entire area. These systems apply water slowly through a network of plastic piping that serves small emitters located at the base of each plant. Emitters are made in various configurations that deliver water at a measured rate and over a specific area to suit each plant.
Large trees may require several large emitters to water its roots, while a small bush can be adequately served by a single small one. This type of fine-tuning is not possible with traditional overhead watering.
Drip irrigation is widely used both professional and amateur gardeners to improve the health of their landscaping by delivering water more effectively and consistently. Some drip users will bury the end of the emitter in 3 to 9 inches of soil to further reduce the waste of water to surface soil evaporation. You can also use drip systems to water flower gardens and ornamental plants in containers.
Drip irrigation systems are usually controlled by timers that are scheduled to supply the needs of each type of plant. Timers also automate watering in cold frames and greenhouses because water is delivered only when and where it is needed.