How to Specify an Irrigation System

How to Specify an Irrigation System

Having an appropriate irrigation system is essential for the success of your plants regardless of whether you're looking to maintain a golf course, a garden, or an urban agricultural centre. In this article we take a look at the various irrigation systems and styles available to provide insight on which type will work best for your needs. 



Center-Pivot

 image ©  Wiki Commons

image © Wiki Commons

Most commonly used for agricultural fields, center-pivot irrigation is chosen based on its ability to make better use of water resources while providing water to plants below. As shown in the image above, with this system water is dispersed in a circular pattern and continues to spew in a circle as the machine electrically propels itself forward until it reaches the end of the field. 


Rotation

 image ©  Wiki Commons

image © Wiki Commons

At a smaller scale than the center-pivot irrigation, is rotation irrigation. With this irrigation system, water is dispersed in a cyclical pattern that can be controlled via a time delay. By setting the time and duration to be during the evening, water is efficiently used to irrigate the surrounding area. Commonly this irrigation method is used for smaller scale operations such as lawn maintenance. 


Drip

 image ©  Wiki Commons

image © Wiki Commons

Unlike rotational irrigation that sprays water on top of the plants, with drip irrigation there are two choices for water placement - directly on top of the soil where the plant resides or within the root zone. This irrigation system is commonly used for greenhouses. It is a preffered irrigation method since there's higher potential to save water and nutrients. 


Flood

 image ©  Wiki Commons

image © Wiki Commons

With flood irrigation, water is delivered to the desired area by pipe, ditch, or other means that allows water to flow over the ground. As the water is delivered to the area in an abundance, it rushes over the crops to fill the entire field.  It's believed that only one half of the water applied to the area ends up irrigating the crop [1]. This makes it one of the least efficient methods for irrigation, however, it is still commonly used within the agricultural industry. 


Furrow

 image ©  Wiki Commons

image © Wiki Commons

Furrow irrigation can be considered a more controlled version of flood irrigation. With furrow irrigation, trenches or "furrows" are dug between crops in a field. Water is then flowed through the trenches and allowed to seep vertically and horizontally in order to refill the soil reservoir. The water does not touch the plants directly and works well for row crops, tree crops, and vegetables. 


Sprinkler

 image ©  Flickr

image © Flickr

Mimicking natural rainfall, sprinkler irrigation is widely used throughout the agricultural and landscaping industries. This is because in addition to providing water, sprinklers are used for cooling and to control airborne dust. With a sprinkler, water is applied to the area in droplets in a uniformly manner. 


Subirrigation 

irrigation.jpg

Since the 1990's greenhouse sub-irrigation has peaked in popularity. This is because the method is efficient with saving water, nutrients, and labour. As stated on Wikipedia, there are three basic types of subirrigation systems: ebb-and-flow (bench-mounted enclosures holding pots are filled and then drained); trough (water is flowed through bench-mounted, slightly sloping enclosures containing pots); and flooded floor (special sloped concrete flooring is flooded and drained).


Choosing the right irrigation system shouldn't be a difficult task-as long as you assess your needs first. For those interested in finding an irrigation system to suite your lawn or garden needs, search 'irrigation' on CADdetails.com.

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