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How to install drip irrigation

There are numerous ways to water your plants and landscape with some being more wasteful than others. The watering options depend to a great extent on what you are watering, but drip irrigation is a great option for individual plants or shrubs and even containers.

Drip irrigation works by allowing a slow stream of water to be delivered directly to the roots of a shrub, perennial or container plant. This avoids wasting water on the ground between the plants or on the lawn. Setting up a drip irrigation system is very easy, and can be completed in just a short time.

Start by designing the system to have one long ‘hose’ line that travels through your perennials and shrubs. This is the main delivery line for the water. A secondary line or two will take the water to a specific group of plants. Finally have smaller side shoots that take the water to the individual plants.

Every time you take a side line off the main line, you need to have a junction connector that reduces the diameter of the line from the main line to the smaller branches. Measure the linear distance needed for each line size before you head to buy the drip system.

For a simpler drip irrigation system that works well for a row of tomato plants or a group of containers, try the irrigation kit that does not need connector for the side lines, but allows water to exit every 6 inches along the run. This is perfect for the vegetable bed where plants tend to be evenly spaced and close together.

When you have your system designed and purchased, you lay the main line along the length of the garden as per your design. Cut and splice connectors for side lines as needed. When the system is placed on the garden space, attach a regular garden hose to the faucet and the main drip line. After a few minutes you can see if your plants are all receiving adequate water or if you design needs adjusting.

When you are happy with the delivery of water, anchor the line securely with hooks and cover the whole system with mulch to reduce the evaporation of moisture.

The hose can be attached to an automatic timer so that you can forget about watering all summer and still get a vibrant and healthy landscape.

Read the next Article: How to prune common shrubs

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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • Preparing the garden in the spring often means waiting until the beds dry before the soil can be worked. This can steal a week or two (or more!) from the start of the planting season. If the soil is prepared in the fall, however, you can get a jump on spring crops.
    After clearing the garden of debris in the fall, till the soil to break up the surface of the beds. Blanket the soil with a thick layer of compost and/or shredded leaves. In the spring, rake off any leaves that haven’t decomposed and discover a fertile, friable soil ready for planting!