Irrigation is the backbone of any landscaping or agricultural project. Landscapers have a variety of watering methods at their disposal. Irrigation has evolved over the years. The traditional irrigation methods were labor-intensive, less effective, and less efficient. They involved the transfer of water using buckets and then using small containers to water the plants. These irrigation methods led to a lot of wastage.
Modern irrigation methods use less water and are more efficient than traditional methods. Modern irrigation techniques conserve both energy and water. Additionally, you can use them in areas where water is very scarce. Here are some modern irrigation methods and how you can benefit from them.
Drip irrigation is perhaps the most popular method of watering plants. It is a very effective and convenient method of irrigation and is excellent at conserving water. There are two types of drip irrigation systems.
In the first system, water gets delivered close to the plant roots in drips. In the second system, spray heads are used to spray water to the plants. These spray heads are located some feet above the ground.
The sprayers only spray water in the areas closest to the plant roots, thus preventing water loss. Since the water gets dropped closer to the plant roots, there’ll only be minimal water loss through evaporation.
Drip irrigation uses plastic pipes with holes in them at intervals. Water drips or deeps in drops through the holes that must be positioned near the roots of the plants. This way, only the plants get watered, thereby minimizing water loss.
The water used in drip irrigation should be clean. Otherwise, some debris may clog the drip holes and reduce the efficiency of the pipes or render them useless. Since the pipes are laid in the field, it may be difficult to know when some holes have been blocked.
Sprinkler irrigation mimics rainfall. It uses sprinklers that are fitted such that they sprinkle water above the plants, just like rains do.
Sprinkler irrigation system comprises a network of sprinklers and pipes that distribute water to the plants. The pipes deliver water to the sprinklers, which then spray it above the plants.
Compared to drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation isn’t as efficient. Since the water is sprayed indiscriminately, there is some loss because of evaporation and surface runoffs. Sprinkler irrigation isn’t suitable for areas with strong winds because strong winds increase evaporation.
Types of sprinkler irrigation systems
There are three types of irrigation systems. These include permanent sprinkler irrigation, semi-permanent sprinkler irrigation, and temporary sprinkler irrigation systems.
Permanent sprinkler irrigation
In the permanent sprinkler irrigation system, all the pipes, both the main and the sub-pipes, are permanently installed in the lawn or field. You cannot shift these fixtures once they are fitted.
If you have to shift them to a new place, you must be prepared to spend a lot of cash. Since this system is permanent, you must carefully beforehand where the fixtures are to be installed.
Semi-permanent sprinkler irrigation
Semi-permanent sprinkler irrigation system, only the main pipe is permanently fixed underground. The sub-pipes are fixed above the ground, allowing you to change the branches and the hoses as you feel.
Shifting this system to a new place is also difficult because the main pipes would have to be dug out.
Temporary sprinkler irrigation
Just as the name suggests, the entire system in the temporary sprinkler irrigation system is temporary. All the main pipes and the sub-pipes are temporary and are placed on the ground. This system is easy to move from one place to another or to change.
So, if you have a wide lawn or firm, you can keep moving the system from one area to another depending on the water needs.
This system isn’t as expensive as the other two, but transferring the system is labor-intensive but possible.
Other types of modern irrigation systems
What if your terrain or water supply doesn’t allow you to use the above irrigation systems? Don’t worry, there are other options you can consider. These include:
In the pot irrigation method, you’ll use pitchers or post to water your lawn or plants. This method works well if your water supply isn’t steady. You’ll get some pots, make some holes in them, then place them in the field. The pitches are dug into the ground up to their necks.
Once they are in position and at desirable distances apart, you can fill them with water using hoses. The water will seep through the holes into the soil. The size of the holes will determine the rate at which water seeps away. You can monitor the pots and add water as and when is necessary.
This method works more or less like drip irrigation because the water can be made to target plant roots. However, it is less costly compared to drip irrigation. Pot irrigation can be used in areas where the field is unleveled or in areas where water is scant.
Lateral moving system of irrigation
In this system, the network of sprinklers and pipes moves linearly as the plants get watered. You can use a motor to run the system, or you can do it manually.
The system draws water from a source, then delivers it to the plants through sprinklers. This method works best where the supply of water is constant.
Center Pivot system of irrigation
This method is like the lateral moving system of irrigation. The only difference is that the sprinklers and hoses are arranged in a circular pattern.
The entire system connects to a center pole. The network of sprinklers and pipes moves around the center pivot. This system can be used where the lateral moving system of irrigation can’t work.
The irrigation methods discussed above are the modern techniques currently used to water crops and lawns.
All the methods are cost-effective and conserve water. The method you choose will depend on your water supply system and the terrain of your landscape.