Top 8 Drip Irrigation Questions Answered
Drip irrigation is fast capturing the attention of people who in spite of facing insufficient water supply are unwilling to compromise on the quality of agricultural products grown. If you too want to adopt this innovative irrigation technique but have queries about it, we are here to answer some of the most frequently asked questions on drip irrigation.
1) Drip irrigation–what is it?
Ans: This technique lays emphasis on water conservation by slowly and accurately applying water to the plant’s root zone to reduce water loss brought about by evaporation. Adequate moisture level in the root zone fosters extended root growth and an abundance of produce.
2) Why should one embrace this technique?
Ans: Using drip irrigation water and nutrients are effectively applied to the plant’s root at the right spot, thus promoting healthy and robust growth of plants. Water wastage by conventional sprinkler systems is curtailed by 60% by minimizing runoff and evaporation, and by encouraging deep penetration.
What’s more, the system can be installed easily and does not require complex tools or wide knowledge. Less water concentration restricts fungal diseases, uncontrolled weed growth and water borne pests. Completely new and congenial root zone environment can be created to maintain uniform soil moisture level. The system can weather the corrosive effect of the elements, is resistant to UV rays and is highly durable.
3) Which areas are ideally suited for this technique?
Ans: Existing and new vegetable gardens, difficult terrains, windy sites, irregularly built areas, nurseries, greenhouse, etc. benefit most from drip irrigation.
4) Are there any disadvantages associated with this technique?
Ans: The drip system should be protected using a pressure regulator and filter: the vulnerable soft poly tubing can be damaged by rodents, pets, and insects. Filter is essential to ward off clogging at the tiny apertures of drippers. Plants can be under stress as this technique wets a small, demarcated zone.
5) How can I ensure that the mechanism is functioning?
Ans: The efficacy of drip irrigation can be checked in several ways. The moisture level at soil surface exactly beneath the dripper and around base will be a good indicator. For subsurface drippers, the micro tubing can be connected to the drip line at the end and raised to the surface. Installing a dripper as point source will show if the system is working. The flow rate can be monitored with a flow meter and a control valve with manual external bleed.
6) How can drip watering zones be designed?
Ans: Annual flowers require shallow watering at close intervals; trees need deep watering less frequently; crops, vegetables and seasonal plants have different requirements than permanent plants such as shrubs. Drip irrigation flow control valves should be installed to shut off areas which are not in use. Drip watering zones should be separately created for plants growing in shade and plants under direct glare of sun. Container plants have localized root systems and require water frequently compared to ground plants.
Clay soil should be watered slowly so that water can penetrate to the root zone and puddles are not formed. For sandy soil, the drip irrigation emitters should be spaced closely to fully cover the root zone as water flows in a narrow stream.
7) What should be the ideal configuration for different soil types?
Ans: Micro sprinklers or drippers of 1 or 2 GPH spaced closely at 12 inches are recommended for sandy soils. Loamy soils allow water to move at a slow pace and evenly spread it, so drippers of 0.5 to 1 GPH spaced 16 to 18 inches apart are recommended. Clay soils require low flow drippers of 0.5/ 1 inch, widely spaced.
8) How can I work out the ideal water pressure?
Ans: The ideal pressure can be arrived at by pondering over few points: the difference in height between the topmost point and pump; availability of pressure; positive suction; location of water source beneath the pump; requirement of pump to build up water suction; the distance water will be pumped to; the dimension and nature of pipe to be used for pumping water; pipe friction loss; pressure needed at the sprinkler, tap, etc.; source of water; and availability of power supply.
Drip irrigation helps you enjoy sustained vegetation growth at optimum costs. You can get the most out of your drip irrigation system by hiring an expert firm that would take care of the entire infrastructure and other requirements for you.