The reduction in recent rainfall for our area has led to an increased interest in micro-irrigation techniques that are not only better for your plants but also help reduce the amount of wasted runoff water. Beginning December 1st, the Southwest Florida Water Management District has issued a modified Stage 1 Water Shortage for Pinellas County and will begin implementing watering restrictions for our area. The rules for Pinellas County can be found at https://pinellas.gov/watering-schedule-and-rules/ or contact your local municipality to find out the restrictions for your exact location. Now is a good time to conduct irrigation inspections and tests to determine that it is functioning properly and that there are no leaks or breaks in the line to avoid fines and reduce water waste. Micro-irrigation is a low-pressure system that will deliver water directly to the roots of a plant, which also reduces weed growth and water waste. If you are installing new irrigation or plants that will have different irrigation needs, check out some of the inexpensive micro-irrigation options available to irrigate gardens, plant beds and newly installed landscape.
Utilize inline drip tubing by placing it just under the mulch or soil surface for rows of plants. You can also wind the tubing through a plant bed. This tubing system is a great way to get more water directly to the roots of your plants by slowly watering the soil so that it absorbs more water. There are several products to choose from with inline emitters spaced evenly apart at specific intervals or purchase tubing and place emitters where needed for wider spaced plants.
If you have hanging baskets or plants that are placed far apart, installing drip emitters can be beneficial in delivering water from emitters punched directly in the header tubing or by using spaghetti tubing that goes to the plants. Using drip emitters is optimal for plants that are not evenly spaced, have different watering needs or are in containers.
If you need to cover a large area of mixed plantings, then try micro-sprayers in that area. These sprayers deliver more water than the other options for micro-irrigation and are perfect for mixed plant beds that benefit from this type of watering. These sprayers are less likely to get clogged, can be easily adjusted and come in a variety of spray options for different plant needs.
A high-flow option for large trees, shrubs or containers are bubblers which can be installed directly into the main tubing or placed on short stakes. There are several bubbler options available for different watering needs. Bubblers are designed for deep watering, getting water to the plant’s roots, and reducing waste runoff.
These micro-irrigation systems are flexible and can be attached to a hose, outdoor faucet or hard piped into already existing irrigation. These systems are easy to operate and can be controlled manually, with a battery powered timer or if hard piped into existing irrigation it will be controlled with the automatic irrigation controller. Once installed, monitor your plants for signs or too much or too little water and make any necessary adjustments. These systems can become damaged and should be checked monthly to ensure they are functioning properly, especially if you notice plants responding poorly in an area. Micro-irrigation can be used for gardens, mixed plant beds, trees, shrubs, containers and hanging baskets. Using micro-irrigation will help reduce unwanted weed growth, is more beneficial for the plants and will help reduce water runoff and waste. If you would like to schedule a consultation on installing micro-irrigation systems or making irrigation adjustments give us a call or text for an onsite appointment.