Drip irrigation is an alternative to sprinkler systems. The drip irrigation system is efficient in several regards and can also provide water and nutrients to plants with near-perfect precision. Drip irrigation can be expensive and might often run into problems such as clogging. But fortunately, there are efficient ways to clear out the clogs that can occur within the plastic tubing.
Drip irrigation involves the very gradual application of water to crops beneath the soil. Water is delivered to the plants through tubes, ensuring that the right amount of water is delivered at the right time. The water is released with low-pressure, eliminating the risk that plants are displaced or damaged.
Drip irrigation was used in ancient times. Clay pots were filled with water, with a hole bored into the pot. Water would escape and hydrate the plants. In 1866, farmers attempted to construct metal piping that could provide water to plants, but this piping was not as successful as the plastic piping that became available during World War II.
Drip irrigation allows for the efficient use of water, causing almost no water runoff. Drip irrigation also reduces the development of disease and fungi. The amount of irrigation that occurs can be controlled in order to bring water to plants when they need it most. Less fertilizer needs to be used because the water does not wash away nitrogen already found in the soil. Fertilizer can also be used more efficiently by having the fertilizer delivered directly to the roots of the plants, increasing the chances that the nutrients will arrive where they are supposed to go.
Drip irrigation often uses tubes beneath the surface that provide water to plants while avoiding damage to the irrigation system that can be caused by weeding and other agricultural practices. This practice also further reduces water the amount of water lost by eliminating evaporation.
Drip irrigation can be expensive, costing $500 to $1,200 per acre. The price of the drip irrigation system depends on the complexity of the system. The irrigation tubing can become clogged, requiring occasional unclogging. Chemical deposits, algae and silt can all clog drip irrigation tubes. Also, some herbicides require sprinkler activation, which won't be available with drip irrigation.
Chlorine can be sent through the drip irrigation system in order to clear out clogs and in order to kill algae that builds up within the tubes.