The benefits of a drip irrigation system are immediately reaped once it is installed: lower water usage, getting water to plant root zones rather than weeds, ease of application, etc. Complete starter kits are available at most home centers. Study of one of those kits may be more useful than actual purchase. Specialty sprinkler supply houses, through local or Internet resources, have a complete line of parts that you can access once you know what you need.

The bare essentials are as follow (note: PVC fittings are all glued; flex tubing fittings are all friction fit):

  • Accessible (municipal or highly filtered) water supply; pressure reducer (if needed);
  • 1/2″ manual valve to isolate system
  • 1/2″ backflow-prevent valve
  • 1/2″ PVC for all lines under continuous pressure
  • 1/2″ flex tubing for main supply
  • 1/2″ low-flow electric valve
  • electric timer
  • 1/4″ spaghetti tubing for emitters
  • emitters

Access your water supply and install your manual valve. This valve is the key whereby amateurs, like you and me, can experiment to our hearts’ content without fear of disrupting water supply needed elsewhere on the line you tapped into. If you have potted plants on a deck, you have an ideal setting that lends itself to creatively hiding individual emitters to each potted plant. Likewise, hanging ferns are great targets for drip systems. If you have many such plants, you’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll save by allowing them to self-water through your personally designed system.

Harlan Frymire, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service


Now is a good time to plan ahead for summer heat and water conservation. Consider drip irrigation.

Drip irrigation is a slow effective application of water. It gets water to the root zone, maintains good moisture levels, and conserves water that might be lost due to runoff and evaporation by the sun and wind. Water is applied only when and where it is needed. You can go as simple as a soaker hose winding through the bed or with the more precise method of individual drippers connected to a hose that applies water to each plant. Drip irrigation is a wonderful time saver as well and you don’t have to worry about watering in the heat. It is also beneficial in drought conditions. Add a programmable timer and the system takes care of itself.

There are many sources available for drip irrigation; most home stores have supplies available and there are numerous website with complete starter kits and supplies. So study some of the websites and examine where you could benefit from using a drip system.

I have had a drip system for 4 years and the vegetable garden grows well and my container plants and hanging baskets do great and I save a lot of time not manually watering.

So, now is a great time to research drip irrigation systems. Do a survey of your landscape and determine where you would benefit the most. In the end, you will be glad you investigated it and you’ll be amazed at the time you save and how wonderful your plants look even in the heat of a Texas summer. Plants are happy plants when they are watered at metered levels on a regular schedule.

Trudy Menke, Smith County Master Gardner
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Posted in Water Conservation & Drought