Not all soils are the same and each soil type will absorb water differently. Different soil types will also have an effect on which type of drip emitters will work best on your drip system. While all soils contain the same elements, different types of soils will contain different proportions of these given elements. Although there many different types of soils, drip irrigation focuses on the following three soil types: Clay, Loam and Sand.
Clay soils have densely packed particles that have little space for water or air. Water is absorbed very slowly and run off can occur if water is applied to quickly. When wet, water tends to move outward, away from the drip emitter. Clay soils will hold water very well and can stay wet for several days. Choose ½ & 1 GPH drip emitters when planting in clay soils. Drip emitter spacing tends to be further apart.
Sandy soils are very loose and have plenty of space for water or air. Water is absorbed very quickly and runoff usually doesn’t occur. When wet, water tends to move straight down through the soil. Sandy soils do not hold water very well and can dry out very quickly. Choose 2 & 4 GPH drip emitters when planting in sandy soils. Drip emitter spacing tends to be closer together.
Loam soils are an ideal in-between mix of clay and sandy soils. Its absorption rate is greater than that of clay soil but not as fast as sandy soil. When wet, water will move outward and down more evenly. Loam soils will hold water well and dry out at a medium rate. Choose 1 & 2 GPH drip emitters when planting in loamy soils.