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Drip, Sprinkle Or Soak: Which Irrigation System Is Best For You?

Purchasing an irrigation system for your home garden may have you a bit confused. Depending on your needs, you may choose to have different systems around your property.

Here are some systems and their differences:

Drip Systems

Drip systems are efficient and help conserve water by applying it only to places where needed. Water is applied to the plants roots, so none is wasted.

Fairly simple to install, most people can put their own drip system in if they want. Those that are uncomfortable with this type of do-it-yourself projects will find that a professional will be happy to install a system for them.

These systems are useful for areas of your garden that don't need a large amount of widespread water. They are great for plants that are prone to disease due to excessive watering. Plants that do well with drip systems include:

  • Vegetables – especially when planted in rows.
  • Small or young trees
  • Flower beds
  • Mulched areas where other systems may wash the mulch away.
  • Shrubs

Sprinkler Systems

Sprinkler systems come in many different forms. A sprinkler system can be as simple as a hose with a sprinkler attachment or as complicated as a series of underground mazes covering a great deal of land. Underground sprinkler systems are best installed by professionals due to their complexity. These systems involve plumbing and wiring.

Plants that do well in rain will likely do well with a sprinkler system. While there are sprinkler heads that rise slightly above ground and spray out to the side, most project water up into the air where it gently falls down on the plants.

You may want to consider a sprinkler system for:

  • Lawns
  • Low growing ground cover
  • Rotor or rotating systems are suitable for slopping areas where you don't want a lot of water build-up.

Soaker Hoses

Soaker hoses are not an automated system; however, you can add a timer to the faucet end to automate the process. They work much like a drip system, but you control when and how much water is administered at each session. Soaker hoses have small holes in them, or are porous, and can be snaked through your garden, placing them where you want. You can use special wire pins designed to hold the hose in place.

Soaker hoses work well for:

  • Established roses
  • Perennial beds
  • Annual flowers
  • Vegetables
  • Trees
  • Shrubs

No matter what system you decide on, most watering should be done in morning hours. This gives your plants a chance to soak up the water rather than the hot sun draining it up too fast. Late afternoon is the next best time, but be sure to water early enough that plants aren't sitting in water overnight.

Should your irrigation system malfunction, get it repaired quickly. A system that isn't working properly may damage or kill your garden. Talk to your landscape design specialists, such as Davidson's Landscape Service, Inc., for more information.