Drip systems are an efficient method for watering a garden. These water-conserving systems are well suited for garden use because more of the water is directed at the plants and less water is lost to runoff or evaporation. The systems can be set to run on a timer, offering greater convenience and flexibility.
Gardeners interested in conserving water can implement a drip system into their gardens and reduce the amount of water used to water garden plants. The drip system creates an even distribution of water into the soil that creates a better growing environment for plants. If the drip system is set up properly and a timer is used, plants will not be overwatered. The water is delivered in a low volume that prevents evaporation and runoff.
Drip systems consist of a main water line directing water from the water source to the garden area, a valve set-up in the garden to regulate water, tubing that directs the water to the garden plants and emitters that provide the water to the plants. Other components include backflow preventers, pressure regulators and filters. The system is easy to set up but requires regular check-ups for clogs in the system. Emitters also need to be checked frequently for clogs.
A drip system can be set up above ground or laid directly in the soil to allow maximum access to the plants' roots. Using a drip system reduces the risk of plant disease because the plant leaves and stems are not directly hit by the water. In windy conditions, drip systems can operate efficiently without losing water to evaporation. Drip systems can be set up in hard-to-reach or hilly areas and in many other places where standard watering methods are not as effective.
Drip water systems that are placed above ground can be cut when performing other gardening tasks. If the systems are not properly set up with the appropriate number of emitters, the plants will not get enough water. As plants grow taller and closer together, the tubes and emitters can be hard to see, which makes it difficult to determine whether they are working properly. The initial costs for installing a drip system can be expensive.
Drip systems have to be flushed in the spring or prior to use to get rid of any dirt or buildup. In the winter, the main line should be drained of water and the backflow preventer, pressure regulator and filter removed and stored in a warm place. Systems used in sandy soils may require watering twice a week, but most systems are designed to be run once a week. New plants or transplants that have not yet become established will require more watering.