Rules of thumb or calculators for drip irrigation?

dmarin(Z9 NorCal)March 19, 2014

/newb question:

I'm assembling a drip system for my 120 sqft. garden I will be using a combination of 1/4" soaker/emitter hoses and individual bubblers. I'm secure in figuring out how to best cover the crops physically, but I don't think I have a good grasp on how to figure out the amount of time I need to run the system for in order to get enough water.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Do some experiments with your system. The important thing is water getting to the roots at various stages of growth and weather. Usually the movement of soil is based on soil type. You can change the basic structure of your soil but not by much. So run the system for varying lengths of time and see how far and deep the soil moves in the soil for varying times after you finish irrigating. You are mapping your soil profile with the depth of your plants as they age (root growth). Do this for Spring Summer and Fall for different season maps. When you have done this you can give expert opinions on GardenWeb. Or go by the "rule of thumb" of about an inch of water a week Spring and Fall and an inch and a half for summer. Or "Rule of thumb" part 2 with about 1/2 to 1 gallon of water per plants every three days. With the rule of thumbs you still have to check if this is too much or too little over time (depends on soil). Gardeners check their plants somewhat frequently that the plants are getting what it needs. JMHO Aloha

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 9:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dmarin(Z9 NorCal)

Excellent advice, lehua!

I had read the first rule of thumb of acre-inches and was looking for an easy way to calculate that. But then I have to concern myself with water pressure and area and drip heads and, well, that's a lot of factors.

Your second rule of thumb sounds pretty easy to use. I can calculate the per-plant watering fairly simply, however, and change watering times based on weather and plant condition.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Don't need to calcualte anythingg.

Run the system for an hour.
Turn it off.
Wait an hour, then probe the soil to see how deep the water went.
- If sufficent to moisten the entire rotzone, you have now "calculated" the run time for your soil and the plants you will grow. Repeat as needed.
-If too brief to moisten entire rootzone, run another trial, but 2 hours long. Stop. Wait an hour Probe again. Do your need to run longer? Or is it okay?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:25PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Best well pump for drip hose irrigation
I am trying to find some information on selecting a...
Making changes of existing irrigation system
Hi folks, am hoping you can help me with these questions. I...
Avocado tree, brown on tip of leaves
The leaves on my avocado tree are turning brown. They...
My sprinkler system station stopped working
Hello! I have a problem with my sprinkler system. One...
Discrepancy in Drip Line Water Flow
Over the weekend I installed some drip line in my garden....
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™