Ask a Question forum: Drip irrigation: does it cover enough space?

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Long Island, NY (Zone 7b)
May 16, 2017 3:02 PM CST
Specifically, the spaces midway between the drip holes. I bought a Mister Landscaper Garden kit. The holes in the drip hose are 12" apart. I have some vegetable plants (radishes, etc.) that are set much closer together than that. There is some lateral seepage, but do the plants in the middle (between the holes) miss out on watering?
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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May 16, 2017 3:13 PM CST
Scott, it depends upon your soil. If you have fast-draining sandy soil, the water may not cover between the holes, but just go straight down. But other more moisture retentive soil will soak and spread the water around as intended. For veggies, you really want lots of organic material in your soil, so that would make it moisture retentive. Clay soils are also ok for spreading around drip irrigation.

Here in FL where our soil is all sand, I use micro-sprinkler emitters instead of drip emitters to be sure to cover the whole area properly.


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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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May 16, 2017 3:13 PM CST
Water does spread out horizontally under drip emitters. How wide the underground cone of moist soil becomes, depends on your soil type.

Sand lets water run straight down, producing a narrow cone. Maybe 12" spacing would be too wide for sandy soil. If you stick your finger several inches deep, or to the depth of your root zone, between two drippers, you'll know. If you turn out to be only watering 50% of your row, you could lay down two 12" driplines close together but shifted by 6" relative to each other. Then you would have a dripper every 6".

Or, every time you water, drag each line 6" one way or the other when right in the middle of watering.

In intermediate soil, the water spreads an intermediate amount.

If you have clayey soil, water may spread horizontally faster than it perks downwards!

Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
May 17, 2017 2:40 PM CST
Hi Scott 😁. I'm primarily a vege gardener. I have perty sandy soil. Mulch will help spread water more.
I built my drip lines with 1gph emitters every 12 inches apart.
This early in season 33 minutes a day is sufficient for water to spread for anything. When weather gets hot, i'll double or triple time. Not water every day, but make proper time adjustments in times watered for watering only every 2 or 3 days.
If you have 1gph drippers, turn them on for 33 minutes, and see how far water spreads.
If your soil is sandier then mine. It would be cheeper to add emitters, half way, between pre-existing emitters, on your line, if possible.
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.

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