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Drip irrigation - make every drop count !!!

By Ben Sims
3 July, 2020

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Do you want to have irrigation that does not end up watering the path or the road when it is windy? Do you want to hand water less often or not at all? Do you want to water a much larger area than your water pressure will allow with a standard irrigation set up?

Drip irrigation is gaining in popularity due to its efficiency and deep watering. Water is delivered to the plant via emitters that are standardised to deliver a designated volume per minute. In Perth sands, water dripping on the surface will go straight down but will not spread laterally due to the lack of clay. This poses a problem for installing drip irrigation in straight lines 300mm apart with 150mm or 300mm emitter spacings as you are not getting complete coverage of an area unless you increase the clay content of the soil and add some organic matter. If you have the drip irrigation set up like this for plants the plant might be getting watered by just 1 emitter or worse no emitters especially with small plants such as tube stock.  This will not be enough, and a far better method is to loop the drip irrigation around the plant at least once and be over the root zone.  To hold the loop in place just pin it down with a poly stake or tent peg. This way the plant will get watered all around by at least 4 emitters. For larger plants that require more water just do more loops and spiral the loop across the root zone. This method works well in Perth sands as you will achieve a deep watering across the entire root zone of the plant.  


Native plants respond particularly well to drip irrigation and you may even be able to extend the range of natives you use to some water sensitive plants such as Verticordias. Some natives are water sensitive and will take drip irrigation but not standard irrigation and will die due to excess water keeping mulch wet around the root zone in summer. Most native plants love extra water however during summer some only need an irregular deep watering every 2 weeks or so and no more.  The Wildflower society nursery uses drip irrigation under their Verticordias in summer for an irregular deep watering and these plants are thriving.

For all your reticulation needs please contact us as we would love to help.