Drip irrigation is one of the most popular methods of irrigation used today. It consists of a network of metal tubes and emitters that allows the water to trickle near the roots of the plants. The drip irrigation systems are easy to set up, and once they are installed, they help in creating a healthy environment for high crop yields for farmers and landscapers.
However, despite the various advantages, drip irrigation has its disadvantages. Landscape owners need to consider both before installing an irrigation system. This post explains both the advantages and disadvantages of drip irrigation.
Advantages of Drip Irrigation Systems
Ease of installation
Drip irrigation systems are convenient to install, and the cost of installation is also low as compared to other watering methods. They do not require any digging or excavation of land as the network of pipes is installed above the surface of the soil. Moreover, the equipment is not permanent, and the owners can easily transfer them from one field to another when required.
Better plant health
In drip irrigation, the water is supplied directly near the roots where it is required. The supply of water in adequate quantity maintains the exact amount of moisture in the soil as the plants need. The correct moisture promotes the absorption of nutrients from the soil and maintains better plant health.
No wastage of water
In the traditional irrigation systems like the sprinkler systems, around 70 percent of water reaches the roots of plants and rest is evaporated in the environment which leads to wastage. As drip irrigation provides water to the soil near the roots in appropriate quantities, there is minimal evaporation and negligible wastage.
No soil erosion
Unlike the old irrigation methods like flood irrigation, there is no soil erosion as there are no high-pressure streams of water. This maintains the quantity and fertility of the soil in the fields that helps in better plant growth.
No risk of drift
Drift is the carrying of water by the wind from the irrigation area to other areas that don’t need water. It can be seen in the sprinkler irrigation system. The drip irrigation system prevents the drift which in turn prevents the wastage of water.
Reduced risk of disease
Unlike the sprinkler irrigation systems, drip irrigation supplies water in the soil and keeps the foliage dry. The dry foilage prevents the risk of diseases that happens in moist conditions.
Low Utility bills
With moderate usage of water for watering of plants, drip irrigation helps in saving the cost of water bills. With the low requirement of water, the irrigation system runs for less time which also saves on electricity bills. In this way, drip irrigation helps in lowering the cost of utility bills.
With the limited amounts of water for plants, drip irrigation reduces the availability of water for weeds. The weed seeds are starved of water that leads to low germination of weeds. This helps to control the weds to a large extent.
With the low amounts of water, the drip irrigation does not allow the runoff of fertilizers into the groundwater. The fertilisers dissolve in the water and absorbed by the soil. It remains available for the plants for months which help in better crop yields.
Disadvantages of Drip Irrigation
Despite several advantages, drip irrigation also has some drawbacks. Let us read the disadvantages of using these systems for watering the landscapes.
Clogging of equipment
The debris in water can clog the drip systems and nozzles that reduce the effectiveness of drip irrigation. Depending on the quality of water you use for watering the fields, your equipment may require flush outs and cleaning every month to prevent clogging.
The drip irrigation is effective only for crop irrigation and not for the lawns and golf courses. Landscapes like lawns require the conventional sprinkler systems that disperse water uniformly in a large area.
Low Crop yield
The drip irrigation systems if not cleaned regularly can get clogged and limits the supply of water in several areas of a field. The low irrigation areas are not noticeable if the plants are lengthy which leads to poor yields.
Not suitable for commercial landscapes
The commercial landscapes like golf courses and agriculture in hilly areas require water in large amounts. Drip irrigation offers low quantities of water that are not sufficient for watering commercial landscapes.
As now, you understand the advantages and disadvantages of the drip irrigation systems; you can decide to use them for watering your landscapes. Drip irrigation is suitable for farmers and landscape owners that deal in small crops that require low quantities of water for growth. However, for landscapes that need high amounts of water for plant growth and maintenance, sprinkler irrigation is more suitable.