Drip irrigation systems apply water frequently and efficiently to the plant's root system. And, they can save up to 60 percent on water over a conventional sprinkler system. This segment gives some tips on how to improve water use in your landscape.

Produced by the Department of Communications at Kansas State University. For more information, visit our website at: http://www.kansasgreenyards.org

Drip Irrigation for Flowerbeds

One of the great things that have come about in recent years is the drip irrigation systems that many of us use in our gardens. Here we have a half-inch drip line that we have laid throughout the garden. We have it attached to a time clock so that we have periodic watering that happens automatically. Or, we can manually control the amount of water.

Some of these will give a flow rate of one-half gallon, one gallon, or two gallons a minute. Overwatering in southwest Kansas can be a serious problem at times. People don’t realize that their emitters may be putting down a gallon or two gallons per hour. If they leave their emitter on, or perhaps forget that the water is still running, they can have a lot of saturated soil in the root zone of those plants.

Small plants or newly planted plants require less water due to the small amount of root system that they have. As they grow, you may want to increase the amount of water that’s applied. There are also different types of risers - the little tubes that stick up out of the ground. They come in various heights. There are also directional emitters and broadcast emitters that will spray over an area.

If you’re using mulches, it retains that moisture around the root zone of those plants, and water application can be greatly reduced. To determine what the water needs of the plants are, checking for moisture using the finger method is a good idea. If you can bring up mud or moist soil, then there is no need to be running water on the plants.

Drip systems can be left in place year round. There is no need to lift them up. They’ll readily drain and generally won’t freeze up in the winter.

This feature story prepared with Dean Whitehill, former Kansas State University Research and Extension Agent, Finney County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.

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