Ultra efficient and easy to install, drip irrigation systems are ideal for watering pots, beds and trees. The main goal of any irrigation system is to put water on plants, period. How much water exactly is distributed and how efficiently the system runs are the important details to consider.

There are many techniques for distributing water, including crop irrigation, pop-up spray systems commonly used to water lawns and drip irrigation.

Flood irrigation is often used in areas where water canals flow through the country supplying fields and yards with water that is siphoned out of the canal.

The water is routed onto the desired area in large amounts, to be absorbed into the soil and to the root zone. This is a very effective method that, surprisingly, is not as inefficient as it might first seem.

A typical pop-up spray irrigation system that has too much pressure, causing lots of mist, and with poorly adjusted heads that throw water onto the sidewalks and into the streets, may actually be less efficient.

Drip irrigation is on the other end of the spectrum. Water, at low pressure, is applied to relatively small areas so that evaporation losses from misting are eliminated, and flooding and runoff to undesired areas are removed. Drip irrigation, simply put, is a method of applying water directly to a target root zone in a controlled manner, limiting losses to evaporation and run off.

Components of a do-it-yourself drip irrigation system include an anti-siphon device to protect drinking water, fittings and also filters to trap small particles of sand and grit that can stop up the small orifices of drip systems.

Do-it-yourself kits for homeowners are available at most garden centers; hardware stores and irrigation supply stores starting at less than $100. These kits include everything needed to set up a simple drip system that hooks up to your hose bib connector: an anti-siphon device, a number of fittings, nozzles, plus a given amount of pipe ( depending on the intended application ). Simple and easy to follow instructions help with installation, which can often be completed in one afternoon. Timers can also be added for ease of operation.

Installing drip irrigation can be fairly simple or quite complex, depending on the area needing coverage. Small, standalone systems designed simply to water patio pots; beds and trees are ideal for do-it-yourselfers. Larger systems, which are generally added to existing lawn systems, can be installed to water lawns, but these types of systems are best left to the professionals.

Keep in mind that there are several state laws that govern potable community water systems and that it’s sometimes easier and less expensive to hire a professional. Texas requires that anyone servicing or installing irrigation systems for a fee be licensed by the state, and that all systems incorporate a backflow prevention device to protect drinking water from contamination by back siphoning.

Before installing your drip irrigation system, check with your local water provider to determine exactly what type of safety requirements or preventive measures are necessary.

Did you know?

Anytime a licensed irrigator comes out to your property and finds, during the course of service, that a system is noncompliant with state regulations, he must, by law, bring the system up to grade or disable it. If you have an old irrigation system, chances are revisions will be required to bring your system up to code.

Question: Jimmie, Is it too late to cut back or prune my crepe myrtle trees? If not how is the best way? Tina T. in Prosper.

Answer: Hi Tina, Now that the sap has come up through the trunk and the ornamental trees have foliage it’s a little late. Pruning on crepe myrtle trees should be done when they are dormant (November through late February). When pruning them be sure to remove any old buds from the previous bloom and remove any limbs the size of a number 2 pencil or smaller leaving just the main trunks and canopy of the tree.

Until next time… Happy Gardening!


Send your landscaping and gardening questions to Jimmie Gibson Jr. at http://www.absolutelybushedlandscaping.com or in care of the Prosper Press at mwilcox@prosperpressnews.com Jimmie is the owner of Absolutely Bushed Landscaping Company. He is a resident in Prosper. His landscaping and gardening column runs every other week in the Prosper Press.