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What Are the Different Methods for Irrigation Installation?

Terraced irrigation works by using gravity to water crops.
PVC pipes are often used in irrigation systems.
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  • Written By: Jeri Sullivan
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2014
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Irrigation systems are used to provide moisture to plants, gardens and lawns. The most common methods for irrigation installation are sprinkler systems, drip systems, ditch irrigation, and terraced irrigation. The method used depends on the size of the area being irrigated, the weather and soil conditions, and the products growing.

Sprinkler systems are typically used in homes, parks and golf clubs. A narrow trench is dug approximately six inches (15 cm) deep and PVC pipes are laid in the trench. The pipe contains joints at designated intervals into which the sprinkler head is screwed. The end of the pipe is connected to a water spigot and usually a timer device is connected to the water spigot. The water flows through the pipes and out the sprinkler heads at predetermined times.

The drip system irrigation installation is performed in much the same way as the sprinkler system. A trench is dug but instead of PVC pipes with sprinkler heads, a thick rubber hose is laid in the trench. The hose has tiny perforated holes along the length. The hose is connected to a water source and timer.

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When the spigot is turned on, water seeps from the perforated holes to provide a slow release of moisture. This is often used in home gardens and flower beds because it delivers water directly to the roots and reduces the amount of runoff. Due to the amount of pressure required to deliver moisture along the entire length of hose, this irrigation installation method is not often used for large areas.

The ditch irrigation installation method is a traditional method that utilizes open trenches. A farm plot is planted with alternating raised rows. Between each row, a ditch is dug and instead of water being delivered directly to the plants, water is run to the ditches and siphoned with hoses as needed. Originally used in large-scale farm operations, this irrigation method has largely been discontinued in favor of more space effective options.

Terraced irrigation installation is used where the land is very steep. Cut to resemble stair steps, terraced land uses gravity to deliver water to the plants at the lower levels. Starting at the top of the garden plot, the land is dug away at the edge to create a drop off and a retaining wall of rocks or stone is installed to prevent erosion. The area directly below is planted with crops, then the edge is cut away to create another drop off. The process of planting, cutting a drop off, and building a retaining wall continues until reaching flat ground.

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