Drip irrigation systems are wonderful for gardeners who want to save money with an irrigation system that essentially operates itself. Adding fertilizer to the water that passes through the drip irrigation system, a process that is referred to as fertigation, will help you save even more time and money. Similar to how drip irrigation systems use less water, fertigation uses about half the fertilizer that spray irrigation systems use and they operate automatically. Here are some great reasons to consider installing a fertigation system for your garden:
Uses Less Fertilizer Than Spray Irrigation
Because fertigation concentrates fertilizer around the root area, where it is absorbed by the plant, it keeps fertilizer waste to a minimum. Fertilizing your plants with fertigation using a drip irrigation service can cut the amount of fertilizer you use in half, which saves you money. It has the added benefit of not fertilizing weeds that may be growing around your plants, reducing the growth of unsightly weeds.
When you're choosing a fertilizer for your fertigation system, the most important thing is that the fertilizer is entirely soluble in water, whether it is a liquid fertilizer or a granular fertilizer. If you're the type of gardener that wants to reduce costs and tailor your fertilizer specifically to your plants by making your own, make sure all the components of your fertilizer are water-soluble and will stay suspended in solution. Calcium salts, in particular, are notorious for precipitating out of solutions. If this happens, the calcium salt precipitate will cause scale buildup throughout your drip irrigation system, which will clog your nozzles.
Easy To Install And Requires Little Intervention
Adding fertigation to your drip irrigation system is easy. Fertilizer is added to the water flowing throughout the drip irrigation pipe via a fertilizer injector. The injector doesn't run on electricity, and instead uses water pressure to add small amounts of fertilizer to the water. You simply install the fertilizer injector after the backflow prevention system (if you are using one) and it will add fertilizer every time the drip irrigation system runs. The only thing you have to do after installing the injector is to refill it periodically with more fertilizer. Note that if your irrigation system is connected to a potable water source, you're legally required to install a backflow prevention system to prevent fertilizer from leaking into the water supply; check your municipal regulations for the exact level of backflow prevention that is required.
Determining how much fertilizer to use can be tricky; if the manufacturer's instructions are for a spray irrigation system, you will want to start with about half of the suggested amount. Check your plants periodically for signs of receiving too much fertilizer, such as chemical burn (yellow or red discoloration in the leaves of the plant.) Fertigation also can make your soil more acidic, so you will need to monitor the pH of your soil near the roots of the plant where the fertilizer is applied. Keep it within a safe range for the type of plant you are growing in your garden.
Although fertigation systems are easy to install, you always have the option of contacting a landscaping professional specializing in drip irrigation services to help you with the installation process;. This is especially a good idea if you are irrigating a hilly area, as it can be difficult to install a fertigation system that distributes fertilizer equally in its area if the drip irrigation pipe is not perfectly level.
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