Drip Irrigation Kit- Buying and Installation Guide

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drip irrigation kit- buying and installation guide

Watering your landscape is quite a daunting task. Especially if you have a large garden or lawn to maintain. Traditional watering methods are time-consuming, wasteful, and inefficient. This leads to high water bills and a negative impact on the environment. However, drip irrigation kits provide an efficient solution to this problem. In this drip irrigation kit- buying and installation guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know.

How Does a Drip Irrigation Kit Work?

A drip irrigation kit comprises of a network of tubing that delivers water to your plants at a slow and steady rate directly to their roots. This process ensures that water is applied directly in the root zone, reducing water wastage and evaporation compared to traditional watering methods like sprinklers or hand watering.

Advantages of a Drip Irrigation Kit

One of the biggest advantages of using a drip irrigation kit is that it is an efficient and cost-effective way to water your landscape. With a slow and steady release of water, the system ensures that the plants receive the right amount of water, minimizing wastage and reducing water bills. Additionally, drip irrigation systems can be programmed to function automatically, freeing up time and reducing the effort required for watering.

drip irrigation kit- buying and installation guide
Drip kit watering plants in nursery. Photo by Blumenfischer.

Expected Lifespan of a Drip Irrigation Kit

The expected lifespan of a drip irrigation kit varies depending on factors such as the quality of the components used, the environment in which it is installed, and the level of maintenance carried out on the system. Drip irrigation kits typically last for many years if they are well-taken care of.

Scalisi (2023) says a drip irrigation system should last between 10 and 15 years. However, poly-drip irrigation lines are prone to damage from freezing temperatures and the sun’s ultraviolet rays, both of which can cause the lines to crack. As such, you should expect to replace some of the system’s components and tubing after 4 or 5 years.

Components of a Drip Irrigation Kit

A drip irrigation kit comprises various components, including the tubing, emitters, connectors, and filtration devices. The tubing is the network of pipes that deliver water from the water source to the plants. Emitters, on the other hand, regulate the amount of water being released from the system, while connector devices join different sections of tubing together. Filtration devices reduce clogging by removing any impurities that may be in the water.

Types of Drip Irrigation Kits

Drip irrigation kits come in different types depending on the purpose they serve. Some kits are designed for small gardens, while others are for larger landscapes. Automatic drip irrigation kits are programmable and can function without manual intervention. There are also kits specifically designed for container plants and vegetable gardens.

Main Types and How They Work:

Soaker Hoses

  • are made of porous material, allowing water to seep out along the entire length of the hose
  • hoses are laid along the base of plants or buried slightly underground
  • as water slowly seeps out, it directly reaches the roots, ensuring efficient water delivery and minimizing evaporation

Emitter Systems

  • consist of small emitters or drippers that attach to the main tubing
  • water comes out in small amounts through these emitters, providing exact watering for each plant
  • this type of system is ideal for individual plants or more extensive garden areas.

Drip Tapes

  • are thin, flexible tubes with evenly spaced emitters along the length of the tape
  • good choice for large agricultural fields and rows of plants
  • the emitters allow water to drip directly onto the root zone, ensuring uniform distribution across the entire length of the tape

Micro-Misting Systems

  • use micro-sprayers or misters to distribute water in fine mist form
  • tiny nozzles release a gentle mist into the air, which then settles onto the plants
  • great for greenhouses or for delicate plants that require precise moisture control

Note: It’s essential to choose the appropriate type of drip irrigation kit based on your specific needs, such as the size of the area, the types of plants, and the desired level of control over water distribution. Consulting with a professional or doing thorough research will help you determine the most suitable option for your landscape or garden.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Drip Irrigation Kit

drip kit for watering plants
Photo of irrigation dripper by fir0002flagstaffotos.

Investing in a drip irrigation kit will greatly simplify your watering routine. However, before you rush to purchase a drip irrigation kit, there are a few factors to consider.

Firstly, assess the size and layout of your garden to determine the amount of tubing and emitters you will need. Secondly, consider the types of plants you have and their watering requirements.

Additionally, think about the water source and pressure available in your area. Some drip irrigation kits require specific pressure levels. Furthermore, other kits require additional equipment like pressure regulators.

For landscape beds with larger plants and shrubs, a drip irrigation kit with dripper stakes, flat tubing, and adjustable drip emitters is best. These kits provide precise watering.

Raised beds benefit from drip irrigation kits with inline drip tubing, which ensures that plants receive the right amount of water directly to their root zones. Read one of our other articles, “How to Prepare Raised Garden Beds for Spring.”

For container plants, small drip irrigation kits with micro-tubing and fine emitters or sprayers are ideal. They deliver water directly to the soil without splashing on the foliage. Create a spring container plant garden.

Hanging plants thrive with drip kits featuring micro-sprinkler heads or drip emitters placed at the root zone. Water goes where it needs to go without wetting the foliage or surrounding areas.

Lastly, take into account your own level of comfort with DIY projects. Moreover, some kits are more complex to install than others. But, with the right drip kit, your plants receive the perfect amount of water.

How to Install a Drip Irrigation Kit

Installing a drip irrigation kit can be a DIY project. Or hire a professional landscaper. Prior to setup, check the local zoning regulations for any restrictions on irrigation systems.

These are just basic installation tips. Always follow the manufacturer’s specific instructions.

Plan and Measure: Firstly, start by planning your irrigation layout. Measure the length of the area you want to water. Take into account the proximity to plants and obstacles like fences or structures.

Prepare the Area: Secondly, clear any debris or weeds from the soil bed. You want well-drained soil. Level it to allow for even distribution of water.

Lay Out the Drip Kit: Thirdly, lay the hose or tubing along the base of your plants or rows. Make sure it reaches all areas requiring watering. Avoid sharp bends or kinks that could restrict water flow. For larger areas, connect with extensions.

Secure It: Fourthly, use landscape stakes or garden staples to secure it in place, especially at curves or corners. This prevents shifting or movement during watering. If you are installing an emitter kit-you will punch holes, install, and connect the emitters at this point. If you are installing a micro misting kit, you will install the misters and connect the tubing to the misting nozzles.

Connect to Water Source: Fifthly, attach a garden hose or poly tubing to the main supply line or faucet. If needed, use a pressure regulator to ensure the water pressure is appropriate for the drip kit. Make sure all connections are tight and secure.

Test and Adjust: After that, turn on the water supply to check for any leaks or issues. Adjust the water pressure if necessary for proper water distribution. Monitor the flow and adjust the placement as needed.

Mulch and Maintain: Finally, once the drip kit is working properly, cover it with a layer of organic mulch. We have another great article about which mulch color to choose.  Mulching prevents evaporation and keeps the soil moist. Next, regularly inspect the system for any clogs or damage. In addition, perform routine maintenance to keep it in optimal working condition.

Again, remember that specific installation steps will vary depending on the manufacturer’s instructions. So, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for best results.

McCollough (2023) offers a pro tip- when installing your drip irrigation system, allow the tubes to sit in the sun for a few hours. The heat will make them more flexible and easier to connect to fittings and emitters.

water your plants and flowers with a drip kit
Lobelia flowers.

Conclusion

Now that you have read our drip irrigation kit-buying and installation guide,  you are ready to choose one for your home. By understanding the components and types of drip irrigation kits, installation is simplified.

Moreover, you are able to choose the right type and size of the system for your needs.

At JC’s Landscaping, we offer landscape design and installation services to fit every design plan and budget.

References

McCollough, M. (2023, March 23). Drip irrigation system buying guide. Lowe’s. https://www.lowes.com/n/buying-guide/drip-irrigation-system-buying-guide

Scalisi, T. (2023, June 12). The best drip irrigation systems of 2023. Bob Vila Tried, True, Trustworthy Home Advice. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/best-drip-irrigation-system/#:~:text=BEST%20OVERALL%3A%20Dig%20GE200%20Drip,End%20Hanging%20Basket%20Watering%20Kit

 

 

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M Valdivia

M Valdivia

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