Your Guide to Micro-Irrigation: Part Two
The benefits of micro-irrigation and its ability to deliver water directly to the root zones of the plants that require water are numerous and well documented. From reducing waste to saving businesses and homeowners tremendous amounts of money, there is no question that point source irrigation is a superior alternative to traditional irrigation methods in many cases.
There are limitations to this style of irrigation, however, making proper installation and use essential to maximizing its potential and reaping the immense rewards. Knowing when and where to utilize micro-irrigation is key, as is familiarizing yourself with how it works and is maintained.
Lucky for you, Landcrafters is your Florida expert on all things irrigation, including micro-irrigation.
Designing a Micro-Irrigation System
Before a property can properly benefit from the advantages of micro-irrigation, there are a few considerations that must be made.
First, it is vital to evaluate what plants populate the property. This assessment will be used to determine how much water is needed in a particular area. Based on the conclusions of the first step, the type of micro-irrigation emitter needed at each location can be ascertained. Finally, those emission devices will need to be ideally placed to maximize efficiency.
In a perfect world, the design of your micro-irrigation system would correlate with the design of your landscape, thus streamlining the entire process. However, this is not always possible, and a micro-irrigation system can be implemented within an existing landscape.
The Importance of Hydrozoning
Different plant types demand disparate frequencies and quantities of water to thrive. When other factors, such as exposure to the sun and soil type, are included in the formula, achieving the perfect balance of watering for each plant in your landscape grows increasingly difficult.
To maximize the value of micro-irrigation, the system will typically be designed around “hydrozones.” These zones consider all three factors—plant types, sun exposure, and soil type—and deliver water to each one based on their evaluation.
In this way, a landscape can be divided into specific hydrozones that dictate the frequency, quantity, and delivery of water to each. Your micro-irrigation system will be designed around these hydrozones, thereby maximizing its efficiency.
Choosing Emission Devices
Each hydrozone will be irrigated using a specific emission device. Selecting the right emission device for each hydrozone ensures efficiency by delivering water in the best way for the defining traits of the hydrozone in question.
There are a handful of emitter devices that can be used either individually or in conjunction with others. While each type of emitter delivers water to the desired area, they do so in differing ways.
For example, drip emitters look like tubes with interspaced emitters that release water at a consistent rate. Micro sprays, on the other hand, act like a more traditional sprinkler system by spraying water over a larger area. However, they retain the low-flow and low-pressure characteristics of micro-irrigation systems.
Maintaining a Micro-Irrigation System
Like all irrigation systems, maintenance is essential to keeping your micro-irrigation system performing properly. After all, it is a system designed to deliver water in an exceptionally precise manner, making it relatively sensitive to lacking maintenance.
Thankfully, maintenance is no more challenging than it is with a traditional water system.
Keeping weeds at a minimum prevents them from causing clogs and limiting the efficiency of the emitters. Be sure to remove the weed roots with them.
Speaking of preventing clogs—an irrigation system’s worst enemy—mulch, soil, and even particles in unfiltered water can build up to block the emitter. Sometimes, entire pipes can be blocked if maintenance is deferred, so be sure to flush the system regularly and use filters to prevent accumulation from occurring in the first place.
Working with an experienced landscaping company can ensure that these and other vital pieces of maintenance are performed correctly and regularly. Maintenance requirements can vary based on your location and the unique characteristics of your property, so be sure to entrust your micro-irrigation system to someone familiar with your land and the area in which it is located.
Whether you are starting from scratch or adding micro-irrigation to your established landscape, Landcrafters can help. With over 20 years of experience cultivating Florida landscapes, Landcrafters has the knowledge and professionalism to ensure your property exceeds your wildest expectations.
To speak to a passionate landscaping expert, feel free to reach out to us. We also encourage you to check out our regularly updated blog. It is full of helpful landscaping tips and fascinating developments in the landscaping world—all for free!
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