Dripper Irrigation Vs. Spray Irrigation

Dripper irrigation systems are a relatively new introduction to the landscape industry. They were devised in the middle of an Australian drought as a water saving initiative. The benefits were clearly self evident and it soon became law that the old spray irrigation systems were not to be installed in any new gardens, as they were no longer water wise options.

Dripper Irrigation

PROS

  • The irrigation pipe is pinned down to the surface of the soil and is then covered over with mulch, minimising the loss of water through evaporation.
  • Less expensive to manufacture, supply and install than traditional spray systems.
  • Pressure compensating versions available, so that each hole drips at the same rate.
  • Less on going maintenance needed.

CONS

  • As the system is beneath the mulch, it is hard to see if its working. Any breakages may go undetected for longer than they should.

Spray Irrigation

PROS

  • Easily visible when its working.

CONS

  • Very inefficient. I’m sure we can all remember spray systems turned on full bore, missing the plants and watering the footpath.
  • Spray heads easily block up with the smallest speck of dirt.

I am constantly asked by my clients which is the better system to install in the garden. My answer is always definitively dripper irrigation. Drippers are 100% effective and efficient, giving your plants the water they need whilst also being water wise. The old spray irrigation systems have had their time. Even in the wettest of conditions, I don’t believe local councils will ever let them be installed again in the future.