The days are getting hotter and the rain is getting scarcer – summer is on it’s way and it is time to think about providing supplemental water to your garden. It is also the time to think about water conservation and how can you ensure the health of your plants while also ensuring the health of the environment.
One popular method of conserving water is using a rain barrel. Rain barrels serve as a reservoir for rainwater harvested from the roof via a gutter or gutters. While rain barrels are low cost and very environmentally friendly their small size and lack of water pressure limits their effectiveness. In my personal garden I have a rain barrel and use the water for my summer container plants. The plants in the rest of my garden are watered by another environmental alternative – drip irrigation.
Drip irrigation is a low water volume system, providing specified amounts of water to each plant through slow release. The system consists of simple materials including tubing, water emitters, and connectors, which are stapled into the top of the soil, and then covered with mulch.
Drip irrigation is easy to install and relatively low cost. It can be installed on just a few plants or throughout an entire bed. Drip irrigation can also be targeted to the needs of each plant. By selecting an emitter as small as ½ gallons or as large as 2 gallons and in some cases using multiple emitters, each plant can get exactly the amount of water needed for it to thrive.
In the picture below you’ll see 3 different colored emitters placed next to each other in the drip line. This includes a 2 gallon red emitter for a water loving hydrangea, a 1/2 gallon blue emitter for a dwarf ornamental grass and a 1 gallon black emitter for an evergreen shrub.
In addition to using a low volume of water, drip irrigation also deposits the water below mulch, reducing water lost through evaporation. By targeting water directly to the roots of the plants, less water is accidentally provided to weed seeds in the soil. By reducing weed germination fewer herbicides are needed.
Drip irrigation parts are available at many big box retailers. Looking for an irrigation installer to customize a system to your yard? Contact Bright Leaf Landscaping at 919-475-1015 or fill out our online contact from. Design and installation are our expertise, and we are always happy to meet with new clients to discuss potential projects!