Tips & Advice
How to choose the best irrigation system for a climate?
The local climate’s heat and humidity affects evaporation rates, and this helps determine the best irrigation options. For example, sprinkler irrigation in a high-heat / high-sun environments lose more water to evaporation than drip irrigation. When choosing an irrigation system, also consider soil type and topography.
What are the benefits of drip irrigation?
Drip irrigation uses 20 percent – 50 percent less water than traditional sprinkler systems, which conserves water and saves money. It reduces weeds, soil erosion, and fertilizer run-off. Drip systems work well with irregularly or hilly landscapes. Because it waters the plants evenly and efficiently and reduces water contact with leaves, it also reduces the risk of plant disease or fungus.
Drip irrigation uses tubing to “drip” water slowly and directly to the soil surface, roots or bases of plants. This low-pressure, low-volume system can use drips, sprays, or streams to keep roots moist but not soaked. The tubes can be located above ground, where they are visible, or “subsurface,” which reduces evaporation even further.
Do irrigation systems require maintenance?
Yes. All irrigation systems are made up of component parts that need maintenance and eventual replacement. Professional maintenance in the spring and fall will keep the system in its best working order.
How long does it take install an irrigation system?
Most professionally installed irrigation systems can be installed in one or two days, depending on the size and complexity of the job. Do-it-yourself installations could take longer.
Can irrigation systems be installed in every yard?
Yes, irrigation systems can be installed for all types of yards. Even yards that receive a lot of rainfall should have an irrigation system for dry periods or for times when the rainfall is irregular, because consistency keeps plants healthy.
What is an irrigation system zone?
Zoning an irrigation system allows a homeowner to develop a customized watering plan. The lawn is divided into distinct areas (zones), each of which can have its own irrigation plan or schedule. Rather than blanketing the entire lawn with “one-size-fits-all” watering, zoning a lawn saves water and allows different plants types (grass, trees, flowers) to receive just the amount of water needed.
How long do irrigation systems last?
With twice-annual maintenance, a sprinkler-head irrigation system should last 20 years without expensive repairs. Underground pipes can last 40 years, and high-quality sprinkler heads should last 10 -15 years. A drip irrigation system will need more frequent repair or replacing because it is exposed to the elements. Wiring, especially if exposed to water, may need repair far sooner.
How much does it cost to install an irrigation system?
A professionally installed irrigation system with pop-up sprinkler heads generally costs $3,000-$4,000 for a one-quarter-acre lot. A professionally installed above-ground drip-irrigation system, which typically covers smaller areas, runs $300-$750 per 500-square feet. The price of either system depends upon many factors such as property size, type of landscaping, number of zones, water pressure and quality, and products used.