Tuesday, July 7, 2015

An introduction to micro-irrigation for your landscape

When thinking about how to maintain a beautiful landscape, supplemental irrigation (even if only for establishment) is a necessary element. But did you know that you could be doing more harm than good when irrigating your precious landscape? Choosing the correct type of sprinkler for the job is very important.
Which sprinkler is best for your landscape?
Sprays (depending on the brand), cover smaller areas, up to 28 feet.
Sprays cover smaller areas.
While rotors start at 30 feet and up.
Rotors cover larger areas.
Proper spacing (head to head coverage) is very importing when using sprays or rotors, they should also not be in the same zone. Mixed sprinkler heads leads to water waste because they both have different application rates.
Mixing sprinkler heads creates an imbalance in the application rate.
Most homeowners, and even some irrigation contractors we’ve spoken to, have no idea that the sprinklers they are using are primarily designed for turf (grass) areas. When sprays and rotors are used correctly they work great; however, when used in areas other than turf, like shrubs or bedding plants, they can harm your landscape. Sprays or rotors apply water at high rates and with lots of pressure, which can affect plant development. Sprays especially apply water too fast, which can lead to poor root development or worse, fungus.
 
Sprays apply water too fast, which can lead to poor root development
Micro-irrigation, like a drip line or micro-jets, do a better job irrigating shrubs, ornamentals or hedges because they apply the water at the root of the plant at a much slower rate, which prevents overwatering and unnecessary water waste.
Drip irrigation applies the water at the root of the plant at a very slow rate
Micro-jets apply water at the root of the plant at a much lower application rate than a spray
If you’re looking for the best way to irrigate your shrubs, ornamentals or hedges, micro-irrigation is the best way to go. If you live in Miami-Dade County and are considering replacing a sprinkler zone with micro-irrigation, contact the UCU via phone, Twitter, Facebook or email, we're here to help! 

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