Ways to water: Drip Irrigation

What is Drip Irrigation?

Instead of showering plants with water from above like sprinklers, drip irrigation is a type of micro-irrigation. This type of irrigation consists of a network of tubes, called drip lines or emitters, that release water gently at the base of each plant.

Community garden with drip irrigation system. Photo courtesy of Julia Sirchia UF/IFAS.

The Benefits of Drip Irrigation

Cool, right? The good news is drip irrigation is a more efficient form of irrigation than sprinklers. Since the water is released at the base of the plant above the roots, there’s less waste from evaporation, wind scatter, and runoff. You won’t have to worry about wasted water. Compared to sprinklers, drip irrigation systems use a lot less water, at a slower rate. Plus, it’s great for your plants’ health. When set up properly, the system can be set up to release the right amount of water, so your garden is not drowning or thirsty. This method also helps to prevent pests and diseases because water is not landing on the foliage from overhead.

These systems are easy to install and will require maintenance to function properly. There are also several ways to install these systems. You can place them on the surface of your garden, just under a layer of mulch, or bury them in the soil. They work for in-ground and container-grown veggies alike.

This method might take a little work upfront, but it will save you time and money in the long run while keeping your plants happy and healthy.

The Disadvantages of Drip Irrigation

Again, these systems require more maintenance than sprinklers. While it is a more accurate and efficient way of watering plants, plant placement will have to correspond to the spacing of the the emitters (where the water is released) to receive water. Depending on where you decide to place your hose, it may be hard to detect a leak, especially if it is under the soil or a layer of mulch.

This is why maintenance of your system is important!

A Tip for the Floridian Gardner

What soil type do you have? Are your plants in-ground or in containers? Sandier soils, like the ones in Florida, drain a lot faster, and could require more frequent waterings to keep plants happy – depending on their watering requirements. This is also true for container plants. Even with rich soil with good texture, soil in containers may dry out faster. Keep an eye on your soil moisture, and only water when you find your plants need it!


Garden bed set up with drip irrigation. Photo courtesy of Julia Sirchia UF/IFAS.


By being mindful of how we use water in our gardens and on our lawns, we can help conserve this precious resource while keeping our plants happy and healthy. Overall, promoting conservation, efficiency, and responsible practices ensures clean water availability, protecting Florida’s environment and supporting future generations.

For more information about water use and conservation in Florida, see Water Resources.

Next in the series, read about overhead irrigation.

Have a question?

If you have any questions about gardening in Central Florida, please contact the UF/IFAS Extension Pasco County at 352-518-0156. For more information on UF/IFAS Extension Pasco County Community Gardens, and how you can join one, visit http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/pasco/.

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Read our other blogs for more tips and tricks on maintaining a home garden!

Supervising Agent: Dr. Whitney Elmore County Extension Director and Urban Horticulture Agent

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Julia Sirchia, Program Assistant at UF/IFAS Extension Pasco County
Posted: June 11, 2024

Category: Crops, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: #RightPlantRightPlace, #SaveWaterFL, Central Florida, Community Garden, Community Gardens, Dade City, Drip Irrigation, Efficient Irrigation, Florida Friendly Landscaping, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Goals, Health, Healthy, Horticulture, Irrigation, Landscape, Landscaping, Produce, Resilient Landscaping, Right Place, Right Plant, Saving Water, Smart Irrigation, UF/IFAS Pasco Extension Office, Water, Water Conservation, Water-wise

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