Pipe for drip irrigation: what to focus on when choosing a pipeline + rules for working with it
Plants need water no less than people. With insufficient watering, they also experience stress, which slows growth and disrupts metabolic processes in the stems, leaves and root system. For a constant supply to the roots of water in metered quantities, tape or pipe for drip irrigation is increasingly used.
What types of equipment are and how to choose it correctly, we consider in more detail.
Components of drip irrigation systems
The system for drip irrigation of plants is not just connected to the faucet, but has many special assemblies and accessories.
The optimal equipment package includes the following components:
- Pressure regulating valves. Located in front of drip pipes and lower the water pressure.High pressure can cause damage to the tubes and uneven watering along their length.
- Filter system Outlets in the pipes are very small, so they are easily clogged with the smallest particles of sand and dirt. To prevent blockage and apply filters.
- Water meter.
- Fertilizer application unit. It consists of a tank for mixing fertilizers and pumping equipment that supplies water to the piping system.
- The controller that regulates the operation of the water meter and pumping equipment. It is used to control the volume and time of irrigation.
- The system of main pipes supplying water to the irrigated area.
- Drip tubes and droppers.
Due to the need of drip irrigation systems for maintenance and adjustment, their cost is largely determined by the price of additional equipment. Often it costs much more than the polyethylene pipes themselves, so when choosing an irrigation system, you should take into account the financial factor.
Main advantages and disadvantages
Despite the obvious benefits of use, the piping system of drip irrigation has its drawbacks. The choice of a variant of irrigation of plants should be done only after weighing all the advantages and negative aspects of the drip method.
- Lack of sunburn leaves. When rain irrigation water focuses light on the leaves, which leads to disastrous sunburn. Drip irrigation releases water directly into the soil, eliminating damage to plants by the sun.
- Low minimum working pressure. In the summer season, the water supply pressure often drops, and it is inconvenient to water the plants with a hose. The drip system is enough for a head pressure of 0.2-0.3 atmospheres.
- The possibility of supplying warm water from storage tanks, which eliminates the temperature stress in plants.
- Saving water by 60% compared to rain irrigation.
- The possibility of introducing insecticides directly into the soil, without contact with vegetables and berries.
- Reduced fertilizer consumption due to their better digestibility and reduced soil loss.
- The possibility of night watering.
- Lack of physical costs for watering and control over the amount of water consumed.
- The possibility of automating the irrigation process.
- Yield increase by 2-3 times due to the constant water feed and reduce stress in plants.
There are drawbacks to drip irrigation, but they are only on the surface. These include:
- The high cost of drip irrigation systems. It is necessary to take into account that the initial cost of the equipment is offset by savings in water consumption and income from higher yields.
- The complexity of installation. To mount the simplest system of dosed irrigation is easy. This can be done in one day, and then all summer to save time on irrigation.
- Weed droppers. Properly installed droppers are rarely clogged with earth, and the supplied water can be cleaned with passive filters.
The advantages of the drip irrigation system are not exhaustive. This technique has many additional positive aspects for professional farmers. Therefore, the installation of pipes for drip irrigation is an ideal option for irrigation of the suburban area.
Types of drip systems
Despite the apparent uniformity of all water hoses for drip irrigation of plants, they are divided into two groups:
Polyethylene drip tapes have a wall thickness of up to 0.4 mm, so they are easily collapsed and wound on the drum. Due to the low material consumption, the price of tapes is quite low. By the mechanism of water flow, they are divided into labyrinth, slot and emitter.
Pipes for drip irrigation are made of polyethylene or PVC and they have walls with a thickness of 0.4 to 1.5 mm. Hoses do not fall down and constantly retain a circular section. Directly these products will be discussed below.
Classification and application of drip pipes
Drip tubes, unlike tapes, are guaranteed to serve 5-6 seasons, so their use is effective for growing perennial plants and trees. Due to the large variety of designs and types of pipes for drip irrigation, it is worthwhile to dwell in greater detail on the areas of application and selection of one or another type of equipment.
Most drip pipes on the market have an outer diameter of 16 mm, although products with a thickness of 12 and 20 mm are sold.Otherwise, drip systems can be divided according to such functional and structural differences:
- on pressure uniformity in the pipe;
- by type dropper;
- on the step between droppers;
- on the location of the equipment relative to the ground;
- by the presence of holes under the dropper;
- by water consumption.
Next will be considered the classification of drip tubes on the listed characteristics.
By pressure uniformity in the pipe
The uniform distribution of pressure tubes are divided into:
- Compensated. The flow rate of outgoing water at the end and the beginning of the tube remains unchanged and does not depend on the head.
- Not compensated. Water flow varies depending on the pressure applied at the beginning of the hose.
It makes sense to buy compensated pipes with irrigation lines longer than 20 meters and with a minimum working pressure of at least 1 atm. In Spanish droppers, the opening threshold is 0.3 atm, Israeli - 1 atm, that is, with less pressure, water simply will not leave the system. And with a small length of pipe irrigation and so will be uniform throughout the length.
Non-compensated and adjustable droppers can function at any pressure and even in gravity-flow systems. Adjustable tubes require an initial fine adjustment, which is time consuming.
By type of dropper
Pipes can have droppers of such types:
- rigid, in the form of an elastic tube;
- soft, in the form of a tape;
- embedded in the wall.
Pipes with built-in droppers are used mainly in dense gardens, artificial landscapes and shrubs, where the poured water will be available to the root system anywhere.
Drip hoses with built-in external droppers are used for watering plants in the following areas:
- ornamental plant growing;
- hydroponic systems;
- industrial berry gardens;
They can also be found in vertical greening systems.
Droppers allow you to bring water to each root separately.
Step between droppers
The step between the emitters in the drip tubes should be selected, focusing on the grown crops. No need to buy equipment without a clear understanding of the list of plants that it will water. Pipes can have such a step between emitters:
- 10-20 cm: set when irrigating grass, onions, garlic, parsley, lettuce, etc. It is used on sandy soils, if necessary, a large flow of water or linear irrigation.
- 30 cm: used for irrigation of potatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, peppers.
- 40 cm or more (up to 150 cm): used for irrigation of tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini, watermelons.
The latter species is often used when nesting a shrub planting scheme.
If there is no plan for planting, it is best to buy a blind pipe and determine the places for inserting the droppers later on. In addition, reducing the pitch between emitters leads to higher equipment costs.
By location of equipment relative to the ground
By location relative to the soil pipes are divided into:
Underground pipes have a special design that prevents them from quickly clogging the ground. They are used in such cases:
- It is necessary to hide the watering for aesthetic beauty.
- There is the possibility of pipe theft.
- In systems of artificial landscape.
They are also relevant to prevent damage to equipment during the processing of the earth.
Installation of an underground system requires additional labor and financial costs.
By the presence of holes in the pipes
According to the availability of special places for joining droppers, the pipes are divided into:
- Blind. This is a solid pipe, holes for droppers in which you can do it yourself in any place.
- Emitter, with integrated exhaust ports.
Both species are actively used.
Blind droppers are convenient for irrigating chaotically berry bushes and elements of an artificial landscape.You can always make a hole in the right places and insert a drip tube into it with a drill or handpiece. To plug extra holes there are plugs.
By water consumption
In terms of water consumption, there is no clear separation of drip pipes, but for each product this parameter is specified in the instructions. Equipment with different bandwidth has its own areas of application.
- Emitters with a flow rate of 2-4 l / h are installed on beds where two-sided watering from one hose is required, as well as on sandy soils with a high absorption capacity.
- Water in the amount of 1-1.5 l / h is enough for most grassy lawns and vegetables.
- Low flow rate of 0.6-1 l / h is used on long irrigation lines and clay soils. With such a head, good water filtration is required, otherwise the pipes may clog.
If desired, water flow can be adjusted.
Before choosing pipes for drip irrigation, it is necessary to consult specialists in order to purchase exactly the equipment that corresponds to the existing conditions and plants.
Rules for working with drip pipes
The effectiveness of drip pipes strongly depends on the operating conditions. Equipment can last a month, and maybe five years - it all depends on following the basic rules for its use. The main causes of problems with drip pipes are:
- root germination;
- improper storage in the off season.
The following problems will be discussed in more detail, as well as options for their prevention.
Clogged and flushing systems
Country watering is often carried out with water from a well or natural bodies of water, therefore, periodic clogging of pipes is quite understandable.
For purification of groundwater, a screen filter will be sufficient, and when watering from reservoirs, an additional disk filter device must be installed. In the absence of pre-cleaning clogging droppers can occur within a few days.
Regardless of the presence of filters, drip pipes should be regularly cleaned of mechanical sediment with water pressure. To do this, you need to open the far end of the pipeline and feed water into the system at a speed of 6-7 l / min. Washing continues until complete purification of sediment.
The elimination of bacterial mucus from the system is performed by washing with 0.5% sodium hypochlorite solution. It is necessary to fill the system with the mixture and leave for 12 hours. After that, drain the chlorine liquid and flush the pipeline with clean water for 10 minutes.
As contamination is carried out, the drip system is cleaned from salt deposits with 0.6% nitric, phosphoric or perchloric acid. Water used should be as warm as possible. The pipeline is washed with an acidic solution of 50-60 minutes. After the procedure, flush the system with clean water for half an hour.
Prevention of root germination in pipes
The most susceptible to germination are droplet systems with round holes for water. The greater the lack of moisture experienced by plants, the stronger their roots reach for its source. Therefore, the basis for the prevention of root germination is sufficient watering. Additionally, you can periodically move the pipe a few centimeters to the side so that the roots do not concentrate around the droppers.
If the problem is not solved by these methods, it is possible to use special chemicals that inhibit the growth of the root system. But it is recommended to use them carefully so as not to destroy the grown plants.
Storage pipes in the winter
It is necessary to plan the cleaning of the drip pipeline in advance so that unexpected cold weather does not freeze the water in the system and do not damage the pipes.
Before cleaning the pipeline for the winter, it must be cleaned of mechanical sediment, mucus and lime deposits. It is necessary to wind the drip system slowly, lifting the hoses high to drain water. Rolls need to be stored in a dry room, preventing the penetration of rodents into it, able to gnaw the equipment.
Compliance with these rules will allow to operate the drip pipes without problems throughout the warranty period.
Requirements for proper watering
There are proven over the years recommendations for the use of drip pipelines, which increase their effectiveness.
- Fertilizers and bioadditives are best applied to the soil by dissolving them in the water supplied through the drip system.
- Watering should begin 2 hours after sunrise, and complete - 2 hours before sunset.
- The optimum water temperature for irrigation is 20-23 degrees.
- You can not immediately submit cold water after the exhaustion of stocks of warm.
- In a gravity system, the water tank must be at least 1 meter from the ground.
- It is necessary to monitor the uniformity of the diameter of the wet spots around each dropper. Increasing or decreasing them may indicate a rupture or blockage of the pipeline, respectively.
If it is impossible to water during the day, it is recommended to give the plants 2/3 of the daily amount of water in the morning and 1/3 in the evening.
Proper watering saves water and is a guarantee of high yield and beauty of lawn coverage.
Conclusions and useful video on the topic
Presented videos demonstrate irrigation systems in the field. Viewing them will help to better understand the processes of installation, operation and automatic control of drip pipes.
Mounting a blind drip tube:
Work with drip irrigation tube:
Automated drip system:
In skillful hands, drip irrigation turns into a powerful tool for saving finances and personal time while improving the dynamics of plant growth and well-being. These systems do not require special equipment and skills for installation, so anyone can assemble them. And certain financial expenses will pay for themselves several times in a couple of years.