Today, in our Inefficient Landscape Irrigation series, we will take a look at a problem we call “plant density.”
A fundamental concept of efficient irrigation is establishing uniform water coverage or a matched precipitation rate across each zone. A properly installed landscape irrigation system will create uniform coverage that ensures water is delivered evenly across the entire area of coverage. Improperly installed irrigation systems can apply two, three or even four times less water in certain areas which creates significant problems that can lead to root rot, fungal issues, anaerobic soil conditions, dry area/hot spots and poor aesthetics and even dead landscape.
Often times, systems are not installed properly from the get-go but in some cases the coverage is adequate when plants are newly planted and are as small as they will ever be. As the plants grow, they can create a natural wall or barrier that boxes out the water meant for a much larger area. This inevitably leads to too much water where the water is pooling while an area a few feet away may have little to no water. Turning the controller up or down will only compound the problem as something is always sure to get too little or too much water.
The corrective action for taller plants and shrubs, or dense walls of growth, is to take advantage of drip technology. Drip irrigation is a grid of tubes that lay under the mulch and slowly leak water from in-line emitters. This reduces because the water is not thrown through the air and is protected from the sun and wind. It also delivers uniform coverage no matter how tall or dense the bed plants become over time.
Take a look at the video below to see the “plant density” issue first hand and don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you have any questions. Happy gardening.