Gardening

Automatic drip irrigation system: advantages and how to install it

It is important that we make a responsible and efficient use of water when watering in orchards and gardens and the drip irrigation system allows us to save between 40 and 60% of water. An automatic drip irrigation system is a comfortable, sustainable and easy to install irrigation method both in orchards and gardens.

The drip irrigation consists of tubes placed in a row near the stems of the plants and through the droppers that are inserted into the tubes or pipes the water is flowing dropwise a constant manner or limited time, as how we schedule . Pipes may be lightly buried or laid shallow in the ground.

In your agricultural supply store  you can find both kits prepared with everything you need to install automatic drip irrigation or purchase sole parts depending on what you need.

But… What benefits does an automatic drip irrigation system offer? How is it designed and installed? In this article we are going to give you this information so that you can learn more about automatic drip irrigation.

12 advantages of automatic drip irrigation

  • You save time and effort in watering and you can dedicate yourself to other tasks in the orchard or garden by having the option to automate watering. automatic watering
  • You save water and make a more sustainable and efficient use of it as it is a low-consumption irrigation method for this precious and limited good.
  • An optimal level of humidity is maintained in the soil, therefore, the plants receive the amount of water they need, without excesses or deficiencies.
  • There is no soil erosion or loss of macro and micronutrients from the soil due to leaching or surface runoff.
  • Drip irrigation allows fertigation to be carried out at the same time as watering, that is, to add to the water preparations with nutrients to improve the fertility of the soil or to prevent and combat pests and diseases.
  • The roots of drip-irrigated plants tend to grow vertically or deep rather than horizontally or parallel to the ground, accessing nutrients from deeper layers of the soil and storing more water.
  • The incidence of diseases caused by excess moisture (fungi) and root problems (root suffocation) is reduced.
  • As the aerial parts of the plants (leaves, flowers, fruits, etc.) do not get wet, there are no problems that they are burned by the sun once wet or that pests and diseases appear.
  • As we can program and automate watering, this system is ideal for when we cannot tend the orchard or garden or we go on vacation and our plants continue to receive water.
  • You can customize the drip irrigation system and adapt it to the needs you have, using from the most basic and simple system to a more complex and professional system.
  • A drip irrigation system can be used and adapted to all types of orchards and gardens: in large areas in the ground, in urban gardens in pots and planters, on cultivation tables, in vertical gardens, etc.
  • By limiting the irrigation area to the plants we want to grow, the appearance of spontaneous or adventitious plants is reduced.

How to Design an Automatic Drip Irrigation System

If you are planning your garden or garden, the irrigation system that you are going to implement is very important. In the case of automatic drip irrigation, we can place it once we have the land ready for sowing or if we already have the plants. Of course, for best results group the plants according to their irrigation needs.

Measure the perimeter of the area of ​​the garden or orchard in which you want to install your drip irrigation system, draw it in your field notebook and calculate the meters of tube and other utensils you may need. An automatic drip irrigation system includes the following parts:

  • Tube or pipe: that will transport the water to the plants. drip irrigation system
  • Microtube: connect the tube with the pot or plants that we want to water.
  • Droppers: small pieces that are inserted into the tubes at one end and the water that will water the plants comes out at the other (you have them in the upper right, in black and orange)
  • Awl: to make the holes in the tube in which we will put the droppers.
  • Elbows: used to make corners (in the first rectangle, above)
  • Links: they are similar to elbows and they serve to link several tubes, they can be in the shape of a tea or a cross (at the bottom).
  • Pressure reducer or safety valve: so that the water has an optimal pressure inside the tube and can flow correctly.
  • End Plug – Attaches to the far end of the pipe.
  • Programmer: connects to the water tap or tank and to the tube. It is used to regulate watering and program, for example, the periodicity with which to water (once a day, every two days, once a week …) or for how long we want it to be watered.
  • The water intake can be from a tap or from a water tank.

You can schedule the irrigations one or several times a day, every three days, once a week, etc. depending on several factors: the water needs of the plants, whether it is summer or winter, whether you live in an area with a dry climate and little rainfall or with a more humid climate due to the rains …

How to install an automatic drip irrigation system

Prepare and have on hand all the utensils and tools of the automatic irrigation system kit. You will see that the installation is very simple.

Once you have measured the areas where you want to install the automatic drip irrigation, including the water intake point or reservoir, we carefully cut the pipes with gardening scissors.

Join the tubes with the elbows in the case of the corners or with the links in tea and cross. This is very simple, you just have to press and twist the links to put them in the tube. Remember to put the end cap on the end of the tube.

Make the holes with the awl in the tube and insert the droppers.

In the case of urban gardens, place the microtube in the drippers or in the links (there are different ways to do this) and take the microtube to the pot, planter or cultivation table and fix them with the stakes. In the microtubes we will place the drippers that we need.

Attach the pressure reducer or regulator and this to the programmer that will finally be attached to the water intake or the water tank.

You now have your drip irrigation system ready to go.

Two examples of drip irrigation in pots or grow bags:

On the right we have connected the microtubes to the main tube and we have placed them in the grow bags with the droppers, while in the photo on the left you can see that the tubes with their corresponding dropper are simply placed in each pot.

watering pots

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