Answering Your Questions About Home Garden Irrigation

Answering Your Questions About Home Garden Irrigation

Article by Bill Zuckerman

Garden Life MagazineFebruary, 2007

Q: Do I really need irrigation for my home garden?A: The most compelling reason to use any type of irrigation system is to provide an assured, continuous supply of the most vial requirement for plant growth – WATER. Drought stress for even decidedly short periods of time like a week or even just a few days can dramatically affect the yield and quality of your garden at harvest. A reliable, efficient irrigation system protects the substantial amount of time and money you have invested in your landscape and garden projects, so yes, we believe it is absolutely essential to use an irrigation system for your home garden.

Q:What type of irrigation system is best for my needs?A:There are two primary considerations in determining the best type of irrigation system to use for any garden: uniformity of water delivery, and control over the quantity of water being delivery. In fact, it is often just as stressful and damaging to your plants to “overwater” as it is to “underwater”. In our experience, drip irrigation systems are far more effective and economical in addressing these issues than by other methods (sprinkler, flood, etc).

Q:What are the different types of drip irrigation systems on the market?A:1) EMITTER: These systems deliver water through non-porous plastic tubing to evenly spaced emitters or “drippers”. These emitters are fairly easy to install but require frequent maintenance to adjust flow and unplug. The initial investment is also quite significant, as is the ongoing operational expense of supplying filtered, chlorinated water.2) DRIP TAPE: This collapsible, black plastic film tubing has emitter holes spaced 8-12″ apart. Pressure and flow rates are reduced through sealed chambers which tend to plug even when using filtered and chlorinated water. The initial cost of the tubing is relatively low, but generally has a short life-span riddled with clogging issues.3) POROUS RUBBER HOSE: Made of scrap rubber tires, this product emits water through small perforations in the hose wall. It suffers from non-uniformity of water distribution, short product life due to rotting and clogging, and is considerably more costly than alternative products.4) MICRO-POROUS TUBING: There is only one manufacturer of micro-porous irrigation tubing that we have been able to find, International Irrigation Systems, located in Canada. Their primary product is the Irrigro Drip Irrigation System. This micro-porous tube has (as this phrase implies) millions of microscopic pores through which water is emitted. Using relatively low pressure such as that of a garden hose or gravity tank (anything 3-5psi) the tube, when pressurized, will fill completely until a critical pressure threshold of about 3psi is reached, at which point water begins to be uniformly emitted from all of the pores at once. The material used in the tube itself is a type of spun-bonded plastic supplied by DuPont that is extremely strong, immune to bacterial growth, and impossible to clog. If that weren’t enough, product life expectancy is about 10 years, which is very rare for irrigation systems. We are thrilled with the effectiveness of this technology, and recommend Irrigro Drip Irrigation Systems to everyone.

Happy gardening!

About the Author

Bill Zuckerman began his career in gardening 20 years ago as a seed engineer. Later, while holding positions as the director of the National Garden Bureau and the executive secretary of All-America Selections US Seed Trials, he began work as a syndicated gardening columnist in numerous national newspapers and magazines, most recently, Garden Life Magazine.

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