Choose the Right Irrigation System for a Lush Garden This Summer
If you are interested in growing a productive vegetable garden or planting a beautiful landscape, there are several things your garden will require. They need adequate soil, preferably that has been tested to ensure the proper pH balance for the plants you want to grow there. Your plants will also need to be nourished. They will need adequate sunlight and regular tending to keep weeds away. And they will need water.
Water is a vital component for happy, healthy plants. To ensure that you are watering your to the best effect, consider installing an irrigation system. An irrigation system can help reduce water usage and help guard against certain plant diseases. To get you started, here are somethings you should know about irrigation and watering your plants.
When to Water
Theoretically, you can water your plants anytime. However, there are certain times of the day when it is most effective to water your plants to ensure they retain water effectively. You should water your plants first thing in the morning. When it is still cool outside, the water has time to run down into the soil and be absorbed by the plant’s roots. Later in the day when it is warm, you run the risk of losing much of the water to evaporation.
Watering early in the day also ensures that water is available to the plant through out the day so that it can stand up to the heat.
The second best time to water your plants is late in the afternoon. By then, there should be enough sunlight left to dry the leaves. Allowing water to stand on leaves can encourage mold growth. Watering in the late afternoon, however, should still allow water to soak into the soil during evening and night hours. This, too can help prevent too much evaporation so that water is available to plants.
Should You Use An Irrigation System?
You could just take a hose or watering can to your garden everyday, but that is not very convenient. It also may not be the most efficient route for watering your garden. Installing an irrigation system can save you time, money and resources. An irrigation system can be designed to put water right where you need it, so that it is not lost by falling on hard scape or neighboring properties.
Installing an irrigation system also means you no longer have to carry the water to the plants yourself via hose or watering can. You simply turn on the water. Or, if you install a timer, you do not even have to be that involved. Installing an irrigation system with a timer also ensures that your plants are watered if you have to work or if you go away on vacation. Having a timer on your irrigation system can also help to prevent over-watering.
If you have a very small garden, an irrigation system may not be for you. But for most gardens, an irrigation systemis a win for your plants and for you.
Types of Irrigation
If you decide that an irrigation system is for you, the next step is to decide which type of irrigation system is for you. Which system you choose will depend on your garden and its needs. There are several types to choose from and each has its own pros and cons.
A soaker hose is a hose made of porous material. As water passes through, it leaches out of the tubing and into the ground. If you place the hose along the base of the plants you want to water, you can be relatively accurate at hitting your watering target. If you cover your soaker hose with mulch, it can help to insulate the ground and prevent water from evaporating. This will keep water near the roots where it can be absorbed for later use by the plant.
Soaker hoses tend to be among the least expensive irrigation systems on the market. And if you run them under mulch, they will be protected from the elements. Protecting your soaker hose from the elements can help it to last for years to come.
Drip irrigation involves running a hose with emmiter tubes coming off of it. This method is considered the most efficient because you can line up the emmiter tubes with individual plants, thus preventing waste. Each drop is released slowly allowing time for water to soak into the ground and preventing evaporation. This is a great system for vegetable gardening, but not necessarily the best for keeping turf hydrated.
Drip irrigation systems are inexpensive as irrigation systems go. Installation is relatively simple and the parts of this system are easily replaced. It is no wonder that this is fast becoming one of the most popular irrigation systems.
Spray irrigation systems involve spray heads that rise above the ground to spray plants. This is probably one of the least efficient methods with the greatest potential for difficulties. Water is often distributed faster than the ground can absorb it. Gardeners also tend to leave sprayers on too long causing over-watering and run-off. This can also encourage mold growth. Installation is more complicated than the previously mentioned types of irrigation and thus more expensive. Because this system is set into the ground, rather than lying on top of it, it is more difficult to repair, as well.
This system is best for watering small areas like turf, shrubs or flower beds. If you choose this type of irrigation system, consider putting it on a timer to prevent over-watering.
The rotor irrigation system is more efficient than the spray system, but still loses quite a bit of water to evaporation. Rotor systems can cover large areas making them great for hydrating turf. They also give a more uniform applications of water than the spray irrigation system. The aim of the water is moved around enough that the droplets are able to seep into the ground, making it less likely that gardeners will give plants too much water.
Like the spray irrigation system, the rotor system should be installed by a professional which means, installation will cost more than the first two types of irrigation. It can also be more complicated to repair.
What Sort of Irrigation System Should You Use?
The type of irrigation system you use will depend largely on what sort of garden you are trying to water. The soaker hose and the drip irrigation system are both excellent choices for a vegetable garden. The spray irrigation is a better choice if you are trying to water limited areas like a flower bed or shrubs. The rotor irrigation system is your best bet for hydrating turf.
If you want a lush, healthy garden, one of the most important steps is to make sure that your plants get plenty of water. Installing the right irrigation system for your garden can help to ensure that you hydrate your plants right.