Drip Irrigation: [Concept, Types, Operation and Advantages]

In our experience, drip irrigation is the water system that has given us the best results in our crops.

Whether it is because you have fruit trees, a small orchard or a garden, without a doubt knowing drip irrigation interests you.

Drip irrigation:

  • It’s very comfortable.
  • Save a lot of water.
  • Plants benefit from this system because it is highly concentrated.

Drip irrigation has many advantages. If you are not new to this website, you will see that there are many articles where we recommend this system.

Can you come with us?

What is drip irrigation?

Today, drip irrigation is a very efficient automatic irrigation system.

The water that the roots of the plants need to nourish themselves and grow properly, in intensive agricultural activities, is administered in drops in a fairly uniform manner.

Why is this type of irrigation so efficient?

It is a very efficient system, because it is a localized or focused irrigation, where a liquid that is as vital as it is scarce on the planet is optimally managed: water, as well as special fertilizers that have a high performance with this application, for example. in arid soils.

Thanks to drip irrigation, the roots of the plants receive the necessary amount of water, which results in substantial savings, as well as better administration of the essential fertilizers so that the crops remain healthy over time.

What do we need to install a drip irrigation system?

Drip irrigation, like anything, can be as sophisticated as we like. In other words, the more professional we are, the more tools and resources we will need.

Next we are going to expose the tools that will make up a drip irrigation system for a small orchard or garden.

The drip rubbers

The first thing we will need will be the drip rubbers that we will put around or next to the plants or trees that we want to water.

Tubing, 16 mm, with integrated dripper, 0.33 m x 100 m, Color Black

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  • Irrigation use, maximum use pressure 2.5 atm.
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drip connectors

What this will do is that we can connect our drip tubes more easily and adapt them to the crops we have.

They exist in different shapes, such as straight, three nozzles or forming a right angle. Each one is used for a certain task.

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Yardwe 10pcs Hose Nozzle Tee Connectors Drip Irrigation Garden Tool for 4/7mm Hose

  • Made of durable material.
  • Easy to install and not easy to drop.
  • It is used with drip irrigation to connect micro drip tubes.
  • Suitable for connecting 4/7mm hose and micro nozzle.

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drip nozzles

This is where the water will come out. There are adaptable nozzles whose function is to regulate the amount of water that comes out of the hole.

However, there are also drip tubes that already have the holes made by themselves and therefore it is not necessary to put a nozzle on them. Also, another advantage that the nozzle has is that we can completely close the water that comes out of a certain hole.

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  • ★ essential accessory for drip irrigation system.

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drip scheduler

The most expensive device, but it is the one that will allow you to automate irrigation. It saves a lot of time and ensures that our plants, trees and flowers receive water on the days and hours we want.

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Aqua Control C4099N Garden Irrigation Programmer, For all types of Taps, Opening at 0 Bar, Blue and Black Color, 10 x 10 x 16 cm

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  • Automate irrigation with the frequency and duration that we want to program. Frequencies: every 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 12, 24, 48,…
  • It has a manual opening and closing option, as well as a delay function, which allows the start of irrigation to be delayed in the…
  • Minimum pressure of 1 bar and maximum of 8 for its correct operation, although it opens at 0 bar (it can be used in…

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Pressure regulator

If we have a pump installed, so that the drip reaches all the points of our garden or orchard, it is also important to install a pressure regulator.

This will prevent the outer nozzles from blowing out from the water pressure.

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  • Flexible use: connection for 4.6 mm distribution tubes and 13 mm connection tubes
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  • Efficient filtering: an integrated screen filters the water

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What types of crops benefit from drip irrigation?

Virtually most fruit and leaf vegetables, tubers, plants, flowers and trees benefit from this type of irrigation. However, we will highlight the following:

In the field, the drip irrigation method is widely used on the following crops:

Is drip irrigation better than sprinklers?

It is much better than any other system, including the sprinkler system, because with an advanced drip irrigation system, water savings of up to 70% can be achieved in the maintenance of crop fields.

Compared to manual irrigation systems with a hose or shower, savings can exceed 40% and in the case of the sprinkler system it ranges from 60 to 80%.

And it is that drip irrigation eliminates evaporation, because the water is directed directly to the roots, it is done in a localized and direct way, quickly penetrating the earth, in addition to the fact that the damp spot will always be protected from the sun by the shade provided by the foliage of the plant.

What are the advantages of drip irrigation?

There are multiple advantages of using the drip irrigation system or localized irrigation in extensive crops, especially those located in arid areas, with high or very hot ambient temperatures.

Let’s see the most relevant advantages of this irrigation system. These are the following:

Total automation of the irrigation system of large agricultural extensions

Whether for a small orchard or for more sophisticated farming systems, drip irrigation provides a huge advantage due to its ability to automate.

This means significant savings in labor costs, since it has a more expeditious, effective and prudent control of the application doses of water and fertilizer.

Greatly reduces water evaporation or evapotranspiration

The plants will absorb much better all the nutrients necessary for healthy growth and reproduction, since high uniformity in managed irrigation is guaranteed.

Allows the use of water with higher salinity

Thanks to the maintenance of high wetlands in the bulb that are carried out with support from the emitters.

But it is also true that it allows the use of lower quality water, because it is possible to increase the frequency of irrigation, which means that the salts are better diluted, thus reducing their osmotic effect, permanently washing the wet bulb that is form around the dropper.

Adaptable to rocky, irregular terrain, with steep slopes

Its installation is quite simple, although depending on the size of your crops, it may require the services of specialized personnel for its installation.

This system also prevents the proliferation of so-called weeds in non-irrigated areas, precisely because it is localized.

Guarantees a controlled supply of nutrients mixed with the irrigation water without losses due to leaching.

Consequently, it is possible to modify these nutrients at any time during the crop, which is why it is the system that best adapts to fertigation, which leads to significant savings in products.

Avoid puddles that cause root suffocation

El desarrollo de enfermedades en los cultivos, porque se reduce la humedad en los follajes y, por ende, también se alejan los ataques de plagas y hongos.

Supone un gasto energético menor

Debido a que se necesita menos consumo de agua y menor presión de bombeo.

La mano de obra se reduce ostensiblemente con este sistema automatizado de riego, lo cual conlleva a un mejor margen de rentabilidad.

¿Y las desventajas del riego por goteo?

Entre las principales ventajas resaltan las siguientes:

Se necesita una mayor inversión económica

Other less effective systems, because automation is decisive for their proper functioning. Likewise, it usually has higher costs than conventional systems, since a large number of devices such as emitters or drippers, pipes, special equipment for heads, as well as solenoid valves and a programmer, among others, are needed in intensive agriculture.

The drippers suffer clogging caused by the salinity of the water used

Although it can also be due to the poor quality of the device. For this reason, it is advisable to have strict filtering systems.

It is essential to have a good pressure system

Good water pressure is very important.

This will guarantee the success of the drip irrigation system, so no cost should be spared in the installation in this regard.

Zones of high salinity can be created, thanks to the localized washing of salts, which must sometimes be removed with the support of flood irrigation or another salt washing system.

Mechanical damage caused by labor is feasible.

It also prevents soil preparation from being mechanized, since it consists of a series of pipes buried in a line along the arable land.

How does drip irrigation work?

Drippers operability

It works with support in devices called droppers or emitters. The drippers are capable of administering water drop by drop, circulating under pressure through pipes that spread through the emitters or drippers distributed along the linear corridor of pipes buried in the soil already prepared to be cultivated.

This method guarantees a healthy growth of the plants that receive this benefit, since they do not drown or drown in water, thereby preventing root rot, one of the characteristic problems of irrigation.

With the help of the emitters, a much more optimal irrigation of the water is achieved, because the water infiltrates the soil directly into the desired root zone.

In summary, this irrigation system is composed of several fundamental elements, which are:

pumping group

They are components that supply the pressure and regulate the flow of water that the system needs for its operation.

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They are devices that allow water to reach the drippers distributed along the pipes, with the flow, pressure, cleanliness and concentration of nutrient elements necessary to maintain healthy crops.

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  • These garden drip emitters are sturdy, durable, and long-lasting.
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  • Very easy adjustment: just gently twist the red cap and the flow of water can turn into sprinkler water or water…
  • Adjustable drip emitters with eight holes: you can make a good adjustment in the flow of water, allowing each plant…

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Pipe network

They constitute a system of tubes capable of transporting water in a homogeneous way, throughout the cultivation area.

These emitter-carrying pipes must respect and adapt to the type of existing crop and the physical-chemical characteristics of the soil where they are planted.

They are buried in the subsoil and are usually made of highly resistant materials such as black or brown low-density polyethylene, with specifications ranging from 12 to 18 millimeters (mm), ideal measurements for installing drippers.


Es altamente recomendable instalar un sistema de filtros en los goteros, porque este sistema suele ser muy sensible a partículas sólidas.

Con ayuda de los filtros, se generará un sistema de auto limpieza regular de gran efectividad que impedirá que los goteros se taponen u obstruyan.

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