Drip Irrigation Design Guide-Grouping Plant Types
Designing & Planning Your System
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Grouping Plant Types
Plants of similar sizes and growth habits generally have watering requirements that are much the same. Always try to group watering zones by plant moisture needs and local climate conditions (shade, partial shade, full sun).
Consider the following:
• Plants that need frequent, shallow watering, like annual flowers and ground cover, should be grouped separately from those needing less frequent, deep watering, like trees.
• Seasonal plantings like crops or vegetable gardens should be kept separate from permanent plantings like shrubs. Install inexpensive flow control valves to shut off these areas when not in use.
• Create separate zones for plants in the shade versus hot, sunny spots.
• Container plants should be watered separately from plants in the ground. They have confined root systems and may dry out more quickly.
Drip Component Options by Plant Types
Containers or Flower Pots: Use pressure compensating drip emitters in small containers with 1/4" micro tubing or attached to 1/2" solid tubing. Use 1/4" soaker hose dripline, stream bubblers or sprayers in larger pots.
Trees and Shrubs: Use either pressure compensating or non pressure compensating drip emitters with 1/2" drip tubing or off 1/4" micro tubing attached to 1/2" drip line. Use soaker hose dripline to create drip rings around medium and large shrubs and small to large trees.
Flower Beds & Ground Cover: To cover small flower beds and ground cover, use 1/4" soaker hose dripline. For larger beds and ground covers, use micro sprayers and jets.
Vegetable Gardens & Berry Bushes: For small vegetable gardens and berry bushes, use 1/4" soaker hose dripline with 6" or 12" drip emitter spacing. For large vegetable gardens and berry bushes, use 1/2" soaker hose dripline with 12" to 36" emitter spacing. For gardens with uneven plant spacing, use 1/4" micro tubing with inline drip emitters or 1/2" solid drip tubing with self installed drip emitters.
Vineyards: Use 1/2" or 3/4" solid drip tubing attached to trellis. Install pressure compensating drip emitters in tubing facing down.
Slopes: When designing a drip system for slopes, it’s best to install drip tubing along the parallel of the slope and install .5 gph drip emitters. Lower flow emitters along with shorter but more frequent watering times will help prevent runoff and soil erosion.