What do cars, cell phones, and drip irrigation systems all have in common? Like most technologies, they can always be updated and improved. Although you may not be replacing your timed irrigation system as frequently as you get an oil change or a new iPhone, your irrigation systems can be modified and repaired to improve results. Here are five tips for maximizing your drip irrigation system.
1. Find a Filter
Over time, drip irrigation systems can be corroded by dirt, sediment, and the elements. This can cause your emitters or drip lines to become congested. As a result, the efficiency of your drip system will decline and plants may not receive enough water. To combat this, try inserting a mesh filter around exposed entry points. Most filters connect to hoses/faucets and block out the gunk that can erode your irrigation system.
2. Tweak your Timer
If you aren’t already using some sort of timer to track watering schedules, I highly recommend you start. Timers can help create a consistent schedule and ensure your plants receive enough water. If you are unhappy with your plant’s appearance or health, modifying your timer’s schedule might assuage your plant’s troubles. Try less water, more water, or watering at different times of day to see if this improves your harvest.
3. Source a Sensor
Of course, the simplest way to improve your timed irrigation system would be to install a soil sensor. With a soil sensor, you no longer need to experiment with watering schedules or timers. Soil probes provide valuable information like soil salinity, moisture levels, and ambient temperature which can help you understand the environment in which your plants are growing. From there, simply adjust your water schedule or add fertilizer to improve the quality of your plants.
4. Combat the Cold
As the weather gets colder, the components of your drip irrigation system should be winter-proofed. One way to accomplish this is by punching holes in your tubing. This hack ensures water inside the tubing does not have a chance to freeze by allowing the water trapped inside to evaporate. Another way to protect your irrigation system from cold weather is to use a drain valve to guarantee all the water leaves your tubing when you are done irrigating for the season.
5. Mix with Mulch
Mulch has numerous benefits to gardens, but mulch can also help your drip irrigation system. Adding a generous layer of mulch along the tubing of your drip system can help prevent water from evaporating before it has a chance to reach the roots of your plants. Mulch can also help your soil retain water and soil moisture.
Hopefully these tips will help update your old irrigation system or protect your new irrigation system from future wear. Over time, you should be able to see these simple tricks improve the efficiency of your drip irrigation system and the quality of your plants.