What is an irrigation system?
Irrigation can be vital. Dependent on conditions it is one of the most effective methods in maintaining a healthy and vibrant garden. However, with various methods and irrigation equipment available, it can sometimes be difficult to know what the best method is. We’re here to help point you in the right direction.
What are the different methods of irrigation?
Ultimately, there are three methods of garden irrigation:
- The first and most common is watering by hand. This normally involves using a hose with a spray nozzle or alternatively using a watering can.
- Another popular choice is to use sprinklers which are connected to the hose pipe/water source and is commonly placed in the centre of the area you want to irrigate.
- The third method is to implement a garden watering system, and this is typically a network of pipes that transports water to various parts of the garden and plants through drip irrigation, micro sprays, mini sprinklers, or pop-up sprinklers.
Tips for watering by hand
If done correctly, watering by hand can be highly effective. It is advisable to use a spray nozzle with a trigger to minimise water wastage; a garden hose with an open end wastes an incredible amount of water because it keeps flowing out of the end with no control. There are several benefits to watering by hand but arguably the biggest benefit is that you can judge how much water a plant needs. Simply test the soil by touching it or using a moisture metre.
- Use a spray nozzle with a shut-off or a watering can - this will help to prevent water wastage.
- Lift or try to move the plant container – you will quickly identify when a plant has sufficient water by the weight of it. If it’s too light, then it needs watering. Check the soil if the plant is planted out in the garden.
- Keep the hose tidy. There is nothing worse than a twisted hose pipe. It’s a much more pleasant experience if you don’t have to untangle the hose every time you need to water something.
Is a sprinkler or drip irrigation better for the garden?
Two of the most common watering systems are sprinkler systems and drip irrigation. Both are great for certain tasks but there are pros and cons. Some people will need a sprinkler system for lawn and landscaping watering needs while others will require drip irrigation to keep their garden watered but without drenching the plants. It isn’t uncommon for people to use both.
Let’s take a closer look…
For large, flat areas, like a lawn, then a sprinkler irrigation system is the best option. Traditional sprinkler systems are very easy to use and are affordable. All you really need is a sprinkler and a hose. Automatic sprinklers are also easy to use – just set the watering time and the system comes on at the time set.
Drip irrigation systems also have their advantages. One of the biggest advantages is that they use much less water than water sprinklers. This is because drip irrigation targets only the individual plants directly and doesn’t reach other areas such as walkways and the areas between the plants.
Ultimately, to water your lawn we would recommend a sprinkler system, and for plants look no further than drip irrigation.
Best tips for watering in general
The desired outcome is always the same no matter what irrigation method you choose – you want your lawn and plants to grow and look their best. Here are a few tips to ensure your watering is effective:
- Only water when you need to. This largely depends on the season, the soil, the plant type, and Mother Nature. When rain is imminent reduce the frequency as too much water can be just as harmful as too little.
- Mulching is good. This will slow water evaporation from the soil and reduce surface runoff.
- The soil/root zone is key. Always direct the spray on the root zone as this will absorb the water and soil nutrients. Watering the leaves is a waste and could lead to disease.
- Water in the morning or evening. Morning watering allows for any leftover moisture to dry off and prevent plant diseases from spreading. The next best time is late afternoon or early evening as this allows enough time for foliage to dry out.
What is the best irrigation equipment to buy?
With so many different products available, we have compiled a list of proven, market-leading products to make your life easier. You can view the best irrigation equipment here.