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Drip Irrigation - History & Benefits

Conserve Water & Save money

Who should read this?

Anyone who wants to know why they should consider drip irrigation

Drip Irrigation, also commonly referred to as micro-irrigation, trickle irrigation, low volume irrigation or xerigation. This is a method of irrigation which efficiently delivers water to the soil surface or the root zone; this is done by having water drip slowly from emission devices, most commonly called "drip emitters" or drippers.

clay pot for underground watering of plantsEarly forms of drip irrigation can be traced back to ancient times where clay pots were filled with water and then buried in the ground, this allowed the water to gradually leak out and into the root zone of nearby vegetation. The first formal development of drip irrigation supplies began around 1866 in Afghanistan, where they tested drip irrigation and drainage systems by using various types of clay pipe. A researcher at Colorado State University, Mr. E.B. House, began applying subsurface water directly to the root zone in 1913. Perforated Pipe was first used for irrigation in Germany around 1920.

After WWII, the ability to mold plastics became widespread and more cost effective. This helped pave the way for innovations in the manufacturing of drip irrigation system components. At this time, Polyethylene (PE) tubing, also referred to as "micro tubing" or"spaghetti tubing", and early versions of emitters (drippers), became more common and began to be installed throughout the US and Europe.

Inside view of Drip Emitters

In Israel, Simcha Blass & Yeshayahu Blass were innovating in the area of emitter design. They created a method that allowed water to flow through longer and wider passageways inside of the emitter. These labyrinths as they were called, resulted in less clogging. The velocity of water moving through the labyrinth, and resulting turbulence, helps to slow it down, creating a "drip". In 1959 Kibbutz Harzerim partnered with Blass to form a company called Netafim, to further develop and test this concept. Netafim was then able to patent the first drip irrigation emitter. This development helped the technology of drip irrigation rapidly expand to Australia, North America, & South America in the late 60's.

Advantages & Benefits of Drip Irrigation

In this time of water and resource conservation, drip irrigation makes sense. It is generally less expensive to install than conventional subsurface PVC systems and uses much less water.

Water Conservation - Drip irrigation allows you an efficient watering by supplying water where it is needed - at the very roots of the plants. As a result, water is not wasted on leaves or soil. This significantly reduces the chances for evaporation and run off. Both are common with traditional irrigation systems where the water is often supplied at a rate greater than the soil can absorb it.

Reduce Weed Growth
- When water is applied using a conventional sprinkler, everything gets wet. Since drip irrigation applies water to the root zone of your plants, the spaces in between plants remain dry. This greatly inhibits weed seed germination. If the soil remains dry, most seeds will not germinate. Landscape maintenance takes less time with drip irrigation.

Reduce Plant Stress
- When plants get deep, consistent watering, they thrive. Inefficient, shallow watering can contribute to plant stress. Promote healthy growth and disease resistance plants in your garden with drip.

Extremely Flexible Application
- You have many options with drip irrigation tubing, fittings, and emitters. It is a versatile watering system which can easily be installed on hillsides or flat terrains. Drip is the perfect irrigation method for oddly shaped landscapes and windy areas. Existing sprinkler systems can be retrofit with drip irrigation with very little effort.

Save Money
- Once a drip irrigation system is installed, you will use less water to irrigate. If you are on a well, you will notice a severe drop in your pumping costs. You will no longer need to hand watering your garden. Automate you system with an irrigation controller and eliminate the need to pay someone to while are on vacation. With the reduction of plant disease and unwanted weeds, your gardening labor and maintenance costs will also drop considerably.


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1/4" x 100' Poly Micro Tubing for Drip Irrigation Irrigation Direct
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1 GPH Pressure Compensating Drip Irrigation Emitter - Turbo Style Dripper Irrigation Direct
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SPRINKLER SYSTEM INFORMATION

Sprinkler irrigation systems are commonly used in lawn irrigation systems and other planted areas where a spray or mist is desirable. For plants that require uniform coverage of water (grass, ground cover, seeds) a sprinkler irrigation system is appropriate.

If you are installing lawn sprinkler irrigation systems, Irrigation Direct carries a variety of supplies and parts like an adjustable nozzles for Rain Bird sprinkler heads. Our shrub adapters are perfect for garden sprinklers and shrub zones.

Combine pop-ups and rotors with electronic sprinkler controllers (timers), and inline valves to automate your landscape sprinkler irrigation system. Browse our Sprinkler System Supplies and Parts to find sprinkler nozzles, bubblers, swing assemblies, cut-off risers, Marlex 90s, and more.

DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEM INFORMATIONz

Drip irrigation is a watering method which delivers water to plants slowly and right where they need it at the roots. Where typical pop-up sprinklers spray water into the air and onto plants, drip irrigation systems combine flexible poly drip tubing and drip emitters or "drippers" to both conserve water and save money.

Drip irrigation systems are not affected by wind and will greatly reduce evaporation and runoff common with traditional irrigation systems. Drip irrigation is the perfect solution for raised vegetable garden beds, hanging baskets, and potted plants.

Learn how to plan, design, and install your own Drip Irrigation System with our FREE online Drip Irrigation Tutorials.

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