Drip Irrigation Gardening

Hamburg/Pinnebog, MI(Zone 6a)

Does anybody here do this? How does one get started? Any suppliers? Thanks

Hi Tom,I do and love it too,so easy' Here on the prairie constant winds setting sprinklers for watering certain areas is nearly impossible' I purchased everything at Wal-Mart and you can always keep adding on as you go' I simply took the hose(lines)and place a safe distance from the plants and cover with mulch to prevent evaporation' It's actually a soaker hose what I use instead of the ones with the inserts/t's' I leave it year 'round' I only garden at home and am not a big grower like some are here' My containers I water by had though' HTH Sis'

Cape May Court House, NJ(Zone 7a)

TomK this is a great site! This Jess Stryker guy gives lot's of info on irrigation!!!! There is a section called drip Irrigation Design Tutorial!!!! I do have drip irrigation because this is what DH does for a living. It works great in potted plants!


My boss did his own irrigation system and I know he bought all his stuff at Home Depot!


This message was edited Sunday, Jan 13th 11:57 PM

(Zone 7a)

I tried the drip system from WM a couple of years and much prefer the soaker hoses. Some of the problems I had with the drip system was clogged emitters and uneven watering. Also, unless you are going to grow the same thing in the same place from year to year, soaker hoses are more versatile....they soak an entire area, not just a single plant. They are also easier to remove and lay down. Of course, there are probably better systems than the ones at WM, but I like to keep things as simple as possible, and the drip system is far more complicated than soaker hoses. I have a lot of soaker hoses out there and usually buy another almost anytime I go to WM in the summer. They do an excellent job of watering and save an enormous amount of time.

High Springs, FL(Zone 8b)

We've been using drip irrigation for years in conjunction with electronic (battery-operated) timers. It's worked really well as long as I remember to check the batteries. In the past couple of years, though, squirrels have been chewing through the black hoses and we've had to replace sections of it. (Of course, if I mulched as often as I should, the hose wouldn't be so exposed...)

Humansville, MO(Zone 6a)

i'm using one that is called row drip the holes are spaced every 6 inches i think and comes in 1300 ft roll but works fine

Spicewood, TX(Zone 8b)

Yep, drip systems are SO complicated, can't be moved, not really versatile for annuals or veggies, emitters get clogged, etc. I'm trying T-tape from Dripworks.com this year for watering everything. http://www.dripworksusa.com/farm.html About $50 for 750 feet and a dollar and a half for fittings to let you hook it direct to a garden hose. To close up the ends, you just fold it over on itself and clamp. Not bad!
BTW, I saw before and after pics of a friend's garden (before and after installing soaker hoses) and there's an incredible difference!!

Spring Hill, FL(Zone 9a)

Well I'm digging my already skinny A** off to put in an irrigation system here in Spring Hill(DRY Spring Hill I might add). I intend to include a vegetable garden area that is irrigated by soaker hose...it was going to be drip irrigation until I read these posts...so thanks for the input guys!

Hamburg/Pinnebog, MI(Zone 6a)

Thanks to all

Wingnut: that is what got me to thinking was seeing what a garden looks like before and after.

Allen Park, MI(Zone 6a)

I've been using the soaker hose method for 4-5 years.
I saw the drip kits at Wallyworld last year but by the time I made up my mind they were all gone. I might give it another try this year.


Inyokern, CA(Zone 8a)

I've furrow watered here in California for years. Sprinklers are only used on pasture or grass (at night). Bubblers work best on all established trees and vines. There must be a better way though and it has to be some form of drip. Soaker hoses seem to fill up with lime deposits although I lift them up and prick them with a pin if it gets too bad. What is the drip answer?

Inyokern, CA(Zone 8a)

While wandering the internet and here on Dave's Garden for drip info (again), it all came back to me. Drip, as it is mostly marketed won't work for me. Clogged emitters, little sprinklers, buried lines, cute frog emitters hung on flower pots, the pennies mount up to big bucks....ugh!

After much thought (and rework of old memories) the answer is large lines to a multiple zone controller through a pressure regulator to smaller lines, then to 1/8 or 1/4" lines to adjustable valve cocks. Tear it out if necessary at the end of the year. It's ugly on the surface, clogs are easily removed, everything is visible for leaks or poor performance, pressure differences can be adjusted by the individual "emitters", soaker hoses can be mixed in. But, then, one has to be a hydraulic artist! No wonder there are alot of unhappy people out there! and drip is not more universally used.

Covington, KY(Zone 6a)

Has anyone tried the watering with 5-6 foot 1-2 inch PVC pipes inserted into the ground about 12 inches and diluted Miracle Grow poured into the top with a cap put on it?

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

I'd like to bump up this thread. We are hoping to set up a simple (very simple) irrigation system, but connecting it to a "smarthome" controller, like ezflora. I am having some very basic confusions -- for example, how do the valves connect to the controller? I can't visualize it, and can't find photos.

Kingsport, TN

Hi group
I am new to Daves garden and am disappointed about having to PAY to view all posts. But thats OK the best things in life are free.
Any way I do raised bed gardening, not under plastic and will be doing the T-tape this year to see how it works for me. I will let you know and hopefully have a few pic for you also

Thumbnail by rdmitchell
springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I just put it in my mind that DG is like a magazine, only better, and a live/interactive magazine at that. Many people pay subscriptions for a magazine or to join a garden club ect, so I just paid the due ha ha

I am curious about drip irrigation, it just seems strange to me, how close do the 'drips' have to be to each other? I mean depending on the rate of the water flow, it would take a long time for it to wick or absorb into surrounding soil areas. Seems like the hoses would have to be repeated pretty closely?

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I love your photo there. I am going to do something similar in my new backyard when the time comes. I have been told that the sun and heat in OK is brutal, so the 'roof' over the beds would be awesome!
Have a question about the gravel pathways though, (well they look like gravel in the pic?)
In the fall when leaves come off, how do you get the leaves out of the gravel areas?
I have tons of oak trees here, and every year I rake, mow them up, couldn't imagine trying to keep gravel paths free of leaves :)

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

It doesn't take long for a drip emitter to cover the area of the root zone of the plants you are interested in. You can get different emitter rates (1/2 gallon, 1 gallon, 2 gallon per hour). It works great for shrubs, perennials, and containers, and maybe small trees. It is very efficient - you water only the plant's root zone and not the entire area around it as a sprinkler would do. You can also have micro sprinklers and still be quite efficient (smaller area - less waste). If you have a very thirsty plant like an alocasia/colocasia then you can add more emitters for it. I set up my micro sprinklers/emitters for hostas, containers, Japanese maples, azaleas, and other shrubs around the yard - 45 minutes / 3 days a week - with 3 zones. Very easy to set up and a very low cost to buy and saves a ton of money when using city water. Battery operated timers are fairly easy to set up and will save you time and grief too.

Thumbnail by hcmcdole
springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I see that you would only water the plants roots theoretically, but in reality, unless you have your plants packed in very close to each other and close to the drip... the drip would have to saturate surrounding soil before ever getting to the plant. I guess I am having a hard time visualizing how crowded the plants would or would not be, and then having tons of hose all over the place to try to cover up and maneuver to all the plants!

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

The ground does get saturated but it doesn't take much water per plant if you keep a regular watering schedule. The spaghetti hose can be bought in very large rolls and run anywhere you want it. The main line can be added to as well. If you have a cluster of plants then run the main line to them and then run the spaghetti lines. If you have one or two plants not close to your main group, then run one spaghetti line and tee off it if you need more lines.

Mulch can easily hide hoses. Another method is a small trench to bury your lines in - it takes a little more labor but fairly easy to do but my digging dogs can be and are a problem. I run a drip line to each hosta, JM, and shrub in the backyard but use micro sprinklers for shrubs and trees in the side yards, front yard.

If you spend hours watering by hand or pay large water bills by using sprinklers then drip irrigation is great! Especially if you go on vacation or your job requires you to be away from home a week at a time.

I saw miles of drip hoses at Nong Nooch Gardens in Thailand for a lot of their container plants when I was there. Also saw small green yards in Santa Fe using micro sprinklers and that seemed to be just right to create a little oasis for this arid area.

Thumbnail by hcmcdole
springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I am notorious for moving things around so much, and I guess I just resist change and I like old fashioned hand watering. I never use a overhead sprinkler because they are a waste of water and I don't like having everything so wet surrounding.
Digging them into a shallow trench seems like the way to go, right to the roots, and out of site, no animals bothering them. Well unless you have moles, which I usually do :(
so is this method effective for someone wanting to water a thousand or so plants? I wonder how it works with the water pressure, wouldn't the plants at the farther end not get as much water as the front ones?

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Because it is drip you can water lots and lots of plants (hundreds?) on the same line. If you open the end of your main line, turn the faucet on full and measure the flow rate into a gallon bucket, then you can find the max flow. Fill a gallon bucket and measure using a watch. Now divide 3600 by this measurement and you can find out how many gallons you can use in one hour. If the measurement was one gallon for ten seconds then you can deliver 360 gallons in one hour as an example. If you had one gallon per hour emitters then you could use 360 emitters and each plant would get one gallon in one hour. If you put double emitters in then you could water 720 plants but each would only get 1/2 gallon in one hour. If you used 180 emitters you would deliver 180 gallons in one hour (emitters are made to deliver X gallons in one hour) but you would have excess pressure if you wanted to add more. When you mix and match with different emitters and micro sprinklers then you could do a rough estimate by adding up all the flow rates for each device. Anyway you get the idea.

The only problems I've seen are an occasional clogged emitter, a poor working sprinkler head (won't spin), and broken connectors to the sprinkler heads. These are all easily replaced with inexpensive parts. I would check flow on all the parts and for leaks each spring before the heat sets in.

When I said trench I meant for the main line and long runs of the spaghetti lines. I would leave the open end of the spaghetti hose above ground so you can see if it is truly dripping and fix if need be. You might want to leave all connectors above ground too to check for leaks, etc.

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

It seems like larger plants would need more water and some plants may use less water. I guess if they were all on the same line, there is no way to regulate the flow to each plant? For example, the black eyed susan takes little water compared to the daylily planted next to it? What happens then? I guess that is why I like hand watering w the hose, I can regulate who gets what. Usually I just once over the area to wet it, and then move on. After the water softens the soil a little, I can move back to that spot and water some more. It does take forever to water that way, plus if I am gone on vacation they are all dried up when I get back, so I think the drip thing is something I will have to go to when I get to it.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

hcmdole, I'm grateful for your sharing the formula for figuring out the number of emitters/gallons per hour/etc. That's a big help. Thanks.

Frilly-lilly, the emitters come in various gallons per hour. I think that for your plants that are smaller or need less water you can use the 1/2 gallon emitters, using the 1 and/or 2 gallon emitters for the bigger plants. I think the above formula for figuring this would be the same but will wait for feedback from hcm.

Shoe (who waters thousands of plants, usually by hand and/or soaker hose, and would love to give drip irrigation a go)

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

so how does the soaker hose compare to the drip irrigation? I have never used either. I bought a soaker hose once, but didn't like it, so I never used it. It seemed so inflexible and I couldn't get it positioned to the plants zigzagged all over the bed :(

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Soaker hoses are good for rows but can be snaked through a bed too. If you are growing crops in a row then a soaker hose would be very easy to set up. As for flexibility it is best to stretch the hose out in the sun for a few hours to become more pliable (same for drip too). Use large rocks to anchor both ends until it loses the tendency to coil back to its original shape. You can also use large metal staples (the type they use for landscape fabric should do) to hold it in place. Anyway, once it is in the position you want, it will stay there for years.

The thing I don't like about soaker hoses is they either are too long or too short. If you only need 40 feet and have a 50 foot hose then what do you do with the extra 10 feet? If it is too short you can buy another soaker and link them together but then you will have excess again. Drip can be run with the spaghetti lines to extend the length easily or the main line extended with a coupler (push on coupler/elbow/tee is easy but taking it off is almost impossible) and the main line can be cut to length that you require with hand pruners and clamped off - very easy.

Shoe, you are correct in picking the emitter best for the plant. Sometimes a very thirsty plant requires more than one emitter (maybe 2, 3, or more). Some plants require very little water compared to very thirsty plants on the same watering schedule and you will have to adjust accordingly.

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I suppose thirstier plants could be situated closer to the house/water source to begin with and put the drier plants farther out as you go. Sort of creating watering zones. Then if some water needed to be applied with a hand held hose or carried, it would be reasonable to do.

Kingsport, TN

Quote from FrillyLily :
I love your photo there. I am going to do something similar in my new backyard when the time comes. I have been told that the sun and heat in OK is brutal, so the 'roof' over the beds would be awesome!
Have a question about the gravel pathways though, (well they look like gravel in the pic?)
In the fall when leaves come off, how do you get the leaves out of the gravel areas?
I have tons of oak trees here, and every year I rake, mow them up, couldn't imagine trying to keep gravel paths free of leaves :)

Hi Lily
I do not have to worry about leaves but I would imagine a leaf blower would work fine.
Roof? If you are referring to the structures that is for black berrie plants. I use Chester type tame berries. I like the small seeds.
Another structure I am trying this yera is a frame work over the tomatoes and lattice on top so I won't have to stake the tomatoes.
As far as soaker hoese They do not emit a steady amount of liquid to all the plants. At the end it is pretty dry while at the beginning it is "soaked. The T-tape has emitters every 6 inches and gives a pretty even flow. I visited the UT experimental gardens and they love them. I will have to get a little creative with raised beds but I am sure I will get them working

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

My husband has just completed after working for a couple months changing our irrigation system from overhead sprinklers to the drip irrigation. He bought all the parts he needed from Home Depot. We are still working out kinks but so far it is working very well. It is very easy to adjust and even when I move my pots around, he can very easily punch a hole in the main hose and run a line to that pot. We had the overhead sprinkler for years and hated the waste of water going over the pathways, plus our well water has quite a bit of iron and by the end of the summer can color everything orange, including plant foliage.
Since I'm the gardener I monitor the whole watering and let him know if a plant is being missed or needs more water or less water. Together we have worked at getting this to work efficiently.
I was skeptical at first and still need to give it some time to make sure it will keep my plants getting the water they need. I know this is kind of a new way of irrigating, but we notice all the public gardens and theme parks are irrigating this way. You almost don't know the water is running in some places,so I can easily walk around the garden without dodging the sprinklers and getting soaking wet.
Soaker hoses didn't work out for us, do to our sandy soil, they just were too hard to get close enough to the root system. The drip main hose was very easy to lay and at first I hated the looks of it laying in the garden, just as I did the soaker hose. However he assured me we could cover it with the mulching and you can hardly tell it is there. In fact I've gone to dig a hole and almost chopped it with my shovel.
So far we haven't experienced any major problems, and the squirrels haven't bothered with it, and we have a good dozen or more that live in our garden trees.
I will post some pictures I took as soon as I load them onto my computer, but glad to answer any questions you have, and what I can't answer I'll have the irrigation master himself answer. ((smile))

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9b)

I know this is the wrong forum, but many of the soaker hose packages advertise that they are made with recycled tires. Rubber will break down, especially over long periods, and I imagine drop some not so nice stuff in the soil. I don't know if it is worth fretting over or if it is of any concern to the group. These are my thoughts from an article I read about recycled tire mulch. I found it. http://www.finegardening.com/item/11355/its-red-its-rubber-is-it-safe-for-your-garden

Garden hoses also have warnings printer on the package saying they contain Lead. So I always water landscape plants first before moving to eatables.

I'm in the middle of reworking a irrigation system and have questions so, if y'all don't mind, I'll be around.


Johnson City, TX(Zone 8a)

I Get all my supplies from drip works. I love their easy lock fittings are great, You don't have to heat up the tubing to insert connectors, etc. Drip irrigation plus timers have saved so much of my time and allowed many of my plants to make it through thenTexas drought. The problem I have been having is with our hard water my hose fittings to the faucet have to be replaced yearly. The calcium acts like cement and many times I can't disconnect fittings and have to cut them off. Last year I tried plumbing tape between everything and it helped but still had a hard time removing many of them. How does anyone else deal with hard water? I bleed my drip hosing every year to eliminate clogging which has worked for now but my connections to my faucets I can't figure out a better way. Has anyone tried a magnetizer?

Alexandria, VA

Bumping this up as I installed a drip system 2 years ago. I got all my supplies from an online source called The Drip Store (http://www.dripirrigation.com). I have a fairly complex area to water, with a U shaped flower bed running around the perimiter of my front yard, a half moon shaped flower bed in front of my porch, hanging containers on the porch, some young trees and shrubs in the back yard and some raised vege beds that I added in the back yard last year, along with containers sitting on the porch, in some of the beds and next to the raised vege beds.

The hardest part, of course, is digging the trench for the main line. Once that's done you can customize everything else for the needs of the plants. I have a mix of drippers on the ground and mini sprinklers on spikes in the beds, along with mini sprinkers mounted on the fence to provide some overhead watering. I actually prefer the mini sprinklers over the drippers for larger areas because the sprinklers cover more area. If you don't want to use the sprinklers then the drip tape or drip tube is easier to install than the individual drippers are.I have drippers in all the containers as well. In the back yard I have drippers and mini sprinklers for the trees, shrubs and containers and then I use a drip tube (similar to drip tape but a bit sturdier) with emitters every 6 inches in my raised vege beds.

A few things to keep in mind when doing your set up - run your main where you need now but try to keep future needs in mind as well. You can always splice into your main and branch another main off of it. Also remember that if you're setting it up in spring that your needs at that time, when the plants are small, will change over the season. Plants will grow and block off the sprinklers to neighboring plants - this is why I also mounted some on my fence. And you can always add more drippers and sprinklers if you need more water in certain areas or for certains plants. If you have a plant that needs lots of water next to a low water plant, just add an extra dripper to two to the high needs plant.

The Drip Store helped me out alot in figuring out what I needed. My kit included a pressure regulator and pretty much everything I needed. When I added the raised vege bed last year it was easy for me to figure out what I needed, order it and install it.

Having this system is the absolute best thing I've ever done for my garden, and is so much easier on me than dragging the darn hose around the yard in 100 degree weather. In the winter I use an air compressor to push all the water out the system, since it freezes here, remove the regulator from the faucet, and that's it.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I put in a system last summer before going away for a month. It's a combination of drip and micro sprayers run from 1/2" mainline, on a timer. The dripworks people helped me choose all the right elements and get it set up, and it worked very well. I will tweak it in the spring, but I think it will be easy to do. Some of my beds are deep, so I put sprayers around the edges for the lower plants, and I plan to fill in with drip line, where the holes are 6" apart. I can thread them between the plants, and move them around as much as I want. I also used bubblers in a few places, mostly for specimens or shrubs.

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

I love our drip irrigation system, going on almost two years. I have to make sure the lines don't get too covered with leaves or dirt, and keep a close inspection on the system to let the husband know when he has to fix something. The biggest problem is when we are in drought, the squirrels and maybe other critters will chew up an end looking for water. But usually if I keep my bird baths full of fresh water they'll go there instead.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Interesting thought about the critters! It would never have occurred to me!

I've read here that drip lines never clog, so having them in the interior section makes a lot of sense. I like being able to see what the sprayers are doing, so the 180's along the outer edges makes sense too. Also, the plants are lower and the sun hits the soil more, at least it seems that way to me. And maybe the critters can get a drink without chewing the lines? Lol...

Saint Peters, MO

on my drip system i used pvc pipe blackberry and rasberry plants i use a three quarter pvc pipe and drill four to six holes one sixteenth in in the pipe at each plant , i have a line ran to my berry patch with shut off valves to each row where i can adjust the pressure on each row, i tried trial and error until got the right amount of water. the pvc pipe is cheap and i do not glue the pipe togather from the shut off valve with a cap on the end you can flush out the line, andturn my pipe to see that the holes are not cloged in yhe spring. i am going to put a drip system to my garden this year, thepipe can be bulled apart to use next year or so.

Toronto, Canada

I have not much idea about drip irrigation as i have installed irrigation sprinklers from Prestige pop up sprinklers Canada in my yard.However while searching about drip irrigation i just found some interesting tips on its installation.Hope this link help you with you with you drip irrigation project. http://www.wikihow.com/Install-a-Drip-Irrigation-System

Mount Hawthorn, Australia

Hey guys, does anyone heard about Hornet Central Device? This is used for soil moisture monitoring. I does not know details about this device. Any suggestion about this device will be appreciated.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

I haven't heard of it ....

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I found this:


"The Hornet measures soil moisture, salinity and temperature at four depths down to 40cm."

"The probe is available in 40cm, 80cm, 120cm and 160cm lengths."

I guess "down to" means "as shallow as".
16", 31", 47" and 63".

"The logger stores data from the probe and sends it via the mobile phone network to a secure website."

" features including set points to identify when to irrigate and how much to irrigate."

When they say "salinity" or 'fertilizer movement", they seem to mean EC (Electrical Conductivity).

They seem to be based in Australia, so data logging from other countries might be expensive or unavailable.

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