drip irrigationYour lawn probably has lots of ground cover on it, like grass or clover. Lawns like these are best served by the type of sprinkler system that immediately pop into your head when you hear the word sprinkler- you know, the kind that pops up and shoots water straight across your lawn. But, if you’re into gardening, you’ve probably got lots of garden beds and trees, too. Did you know that there are special sprinklers just for those areas? Drip irrigation works best for garden beds by preserving water and getting water down to the roots, where it needs it the most. Check below to see just how this system works.

How do drip irrigation systems work?

Your current in-ground sprinkler system likely has the capability to use drip irrigation sprinklers as well. If you’re considering adding an in-ground sprinkler system for your garden areas, you’ll want to ensure that the system you choose includes drip irrigation heads.

Essentially, drip irrigation heads operate in the same way that regular heads do. The onlyreal difference is in their design. For both, water flows from the source, through your lines at the necessary pressure. When the water reaches the the bed or ground covering, it enters the drip irrigation head, which is often flexible tubing with holes. The water then drips through at a constant rate, saturating the roots. When your system spends the water allocated for that day, the irrigation system automatically shuts off.

The irrigation tubing is generally installed right at ground level or just under the soil, allowing for the water to penetrate a bit deeper to the roots.

Two Types of Irrigation Heads – Which is Right for Me?

There are two main types of irrigation heads that you can install. Standard drip hosing, like the system described above, is referred to as a drip emitter. It lets out water at a constant, relatively low rate, about 4 gallons an hour. Now, that may not seem like a lot but when you consider the small area that the drip system is set for, you’ll see that your plants are getting a healthy drink whenever that system is on.

The other type of irrigation head is commonly referred to as a bubbler. These are slightly higher flow and also come in a wide variety of types. Suffice to say, they are generally used to “flood” an area, so they are best used for ground cover that requires a lot of water. Both of these systems can be set to control the amount of water spent and the rate at which it leaves the irrigation system.

Where do I Use These Systems?

Both types of drip irrigation systems are perfect for small areas, garden beds that need to remain watered constantly, or areas that only need occasional watering, like beds that hold succulents and cacti. Additionally, they are perfect for areas that have flora planted in fast-draining soil, like sand or rock. These soils drain nearly immediately, meaning having a sprinkler deluge on them for 10 minutes a day will not be an efficient use of water. A long, slow drip however, would be exactly what the plant doctor ordered.

Drip irrigation systems can save you both time and money, while ensuring that specific areas of your landscape are getting exactly the amount of water they need, when they need it. If you’re still not sure which sprinkler system would be best for you, give our friends at Timberland Tree Care a call, they’ll be more than happy to walk you through the entire process!