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Irrigation Systems

Watering your lawn and garden with an irrigation system can save time and labor and can even care for your yard while you are gone.There are several types of systems and options to choose from. Consider the following when buying an irrigation system:

  • Area to be watered - Begin by deciding what you want to automatically water. Irrigation systems are designed to water large areas of lawn or garden or selected spots such as containers on decks and patios, planting areas along fences, or individual planting beds.
  • Method of water dispersal - There are two ways for irrigation systems to disperse water:
    • The most common irrigation system uses on and off valves and an underground grid of pipes attached to sprinkler heads. Sprinkler heads can be either the spray type, which emit a fan shaped pattern of water, or rotor units that rotate streams of water back and forth. Spray heads are recommended for most residential use. For safety reasons, it is best to install pop-up style sprinkler heads that rise up out of the ground when in use and then retract below ground.
    • Less common but more efficient are drip irrigation systems, which are particularly suited for desert-like climates and anywhere there are watering restrictions. Drip systems work by slowly applying water (at the rate of about one gallon of water per hour) directly to the soil so that water soaks into the area at the plantsí roots rather than sitting in puddles on the surface where it can evaporate or run off. When buying a drip system, look for a system that includes a filter that prevents the small openings of the drip emitters from clogging.
  • Control system. Most systems are controlled by an electronic or electromagnetic timer that will turn the water on and off at preselected times. If buying a timer system, look for the ability to water several times a day (such as morning and night), the ability to manually activate the system, and easy controls for shutting

    the system down during rainy periods or at the end of the growing season. More advanced digital systems allow the connection of moisture sensors to automatically skip watering cycles during rainy periods and also integrate into a computerized home monitoring system.

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