Drip Irrigation water dispersal studies??

Shullsburg, WI(Zone 5a)

Drip irrigation looks impressive on the surface (figuratively!). However after studying root growth of common vegetables, it appears that each plant is going to need a lot of "drippers" during full growth. For example, a tomato plant could have roots going out 4 feet in just one direction. In good drainage soil, one dripper would probably only saturate about a one foot diameter area unless it was ran for a long time. This might take 4-5 emmitters per plant! Using emitters with a greater flow rate would increase this rate but would not provide even watering. There are some drip type hoses (not soakers though) that could simplify things a bit and keep the cost down! But this could take several years of experimentation to get it right on an individual basis. Varying soil composition and mixed planting only compounds the problems.

Some general studies showing saturation rate for various soil compositions and with different emitter rates would provide the necessary technical information to make a more appropriate initial installation.

Does anyone know of such studies or have any knowledge along this line?


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