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Overhead and Drip Irrigation Serve Different Purposes

WP Law - Wednesday, July 12, 2017
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No single method of irrigation meets all the needs of a commercial landscape. Usually a combination of overhead and drip systems is necessary for efficient watering of a large property, such as turf or a crop field.

Zoning and Timing

Sprinkler systems, which connect underground piping to sprinkler heads, are divided into zones. Automatic controls manage watering with minimum of labor on a set schedule for a limited amount of time in each zone.

Drip systems also are zoned and timed, but instead of using in-ground pop-up sprinklers, drip systems use tubing that is installed above ground and releases water gradually through tiny emitters at root level.

Differences and Advantages

Automated overhead watering is effective for uniformly distributing water over large areas, such as lawns. In contrast, drip irrigation works well for slow, deep watering of trees and landscape beds. It's also efficient for slopes where slow watering decreases erosion.

The programmable controls of an up-to-date sprinkler system make it easy to adapt a watering schedule quickly as conditions change. They also aid adjustments that may be required as weather patterns change and can be fitted for "smart" Internet-connected controls.

Two top concerns with overhead sprinkler systems are evaporative loss and the spread of foliar disease through too much watering of foliage and flowers. Both can be decreased by watering either early in the day.

Conversely, drip systems excel at conserving water and directing it where most needed. This targeted irrigation discourages weeds while encouraging root growth.

However, the spray of an overhead system shows exactly where water is landing, whereas a drip system requires close observation of plants to see if blockages are interfering with water distribution.

Options to Explore

Successful watering of most commercial properties combines overhead and drip irrigation. W.P. Law, Inc., provides a comprehensive range of irrigation products for commercial properties in agriculture and other industries. Please contact us today about how our options can meet your needs.

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