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The What, Where and Why of 3 Different Irrigation Methods: Sprinklers, Drip and Flood

By Adreana Young on May 1, 2018 in BlogNo Comments

The What, Where and Why of 3 Different Irrigation Methods: Sprinklers, Drip and Flood graphic

There are a variety of irrigation systems out there and each of them have a specific use and function. Find out the what, where and why of a variety of common irrigation types to help you decide which method is right for your jobsite.

Sprinkler irrigation

When most people think of irrigation or landscape watering, they think about sprinkler irrigation. Sprinkler irrigation is when water is sprayed into the air and over plant material. Obviously, right? Maybe, but did you know that sprinkler irrigation, while extremely common, isn’t always the right type of irrigation for many sites.

This tried and true method does come with some limitations. Because of the nature of this method, a lot of water can be lost due to evaporation; this can be wasteful and sometimes costly. Installing a sprinkler irrigation system can also be an expensive initial investment.

However, sprinkler irrigation is often used for lawns, greens and other large areas of turf. It’s a commonly used method because of its uniformed distribution of water—when installed correctly—and you can water a large area of plants or turf, if needed. The distribution uniformity range varies by type of sprinkler used, so be sure to speak with a Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply professional when searching for

Drip irrigation

Drip, trickle or micro-irrigation, whichever term you want to use, is a method in which water is applied directly to plant material through small emitters at a low volume.

Often times, drip irrigation is used for flower beds, agriculture crops that are spaced far apart and landscapes with drought-tolerant requirements—such as desert landscapes—because drip irrigation is thought to be the most water efficient method of irrigating.

With drip, watering times are often extended because of the low flow of water. This helps prevent runoff, erosion and ultimately saves water and allows water to seep into the root zone.

While drip irrigation is effective for the landscapes listed above, it isn’t always the right option. Drip irrigation systems require more frequent maintenance than traditional sprinkler irrigation systems, because particles can become stuck easily in the small tubing. Drip systems will also need to be checked more regularly to ensure they are working properly. Because water is applied directly to the soil, it’s more difficult to spot when there is a problem.

Flood irrigation

Flood irrigation, also known as surface irrigation, is when water is dispersed over an entire site by ditches or canals and soaks into the ground over an extended period of time.

Flood irrigation is an older, less water efficient way to irrigate because of its requirement for level ground and excessive runoff, but can be a way to save costs when it comes to equipment, installation and pumping needs.

This method of irrigating is most often used in agriculture settings, such as row and tree crops.

What type of irrigation method do you use most often? Let us know in the comments below. If you’re looking for more information on these types of irrigation systems or products, contact your local Ewing location today.

The What, Where and Why of 3 Different Irrigation Methods: Sprinklers, Drip and Flood graphic
Adreana Young
Adreana Young is a customer insights specialist at Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply. She can be reached at ayoung@ewingirrigation.com.
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