Keeping your garden watered is not only labor-intensive; it uses a lot of water as well. If you use municipal water, it can cost a lot of money. But with a drip irrigation system, you can keep your garden watered and still conserve water.

A plant cannot make full use of water if it is not delivered to its roots. A drip irrigation system does not spray water through the air, but drips it slowly at the base of your plants. Here is how a drip irrigation system works.

A drip irrigation system uses your garden hose connection. Hose or tubing is attached and connected by fittings and connectors. You can bury your drip irrigation system, but you do not need to. You can even use the system for hanging baskets and potted plants.

Other components of the system are a control valve that prevents the water from flowing back into your home water, a pressure regulator, filter, emitters (that actually drip the water), and an optional timer. The timer is very helpful in preventing waste, as it turns the flow of water on and off automatically. It is something like a soaker hose, but more sophisticated and precise.

What Are the Benefits of a Drip Irrigation System?

A drip irrigation system is more efficient than watering systems such as sprinklers. Sprinklers waste water through evaporation – a lot of the water lands on the stems and leaves, and on ground where the plants are not growing. Depending on the location of your garden, a sprinkler may spray onto concrete or asphalt.

Water run-off is another concern with aerial sprinklers and traditional irrigation. In fact, run-off and its accompanying erosion are growing problems on large farms. Using a drip irrigation system avoids this run-off problem.

If you are going out of town, you will not have to get someone to water your garden. The automatic timer will turn the water on and off at prescribed times.

Some plants do not like water on their leaves, and still others can get "burns" from drops of water being left on the leaves in the sunlight. The drops act like tiny lenses, focusing the sunlight and causing burn spots on the leaves. Also, if you have treated your plants' foliage with anything, it will get washed off by water delivered from overhead.

Whether you have container plants or a garden bed, you can benefit from a drip irrigation system.

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