What are the Different Types of Plant Irrigation?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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The four main types of plant irrigation are the sprinkler, mist, drip, and manual methods. Each one, except for manual, uses a similar design and structure, but with differing water delivery methods. All types of irrigation are useful, each for a different type of plant or planting location. The type used may depend on various factors or preferences.

The sprinkler method of plant irrigation is the most widely used for lawns and other landscaping greenery. This type uses lines running from a water valve into small spigots that sit slightly above the ground. When turned on, the water sprays outward in one direction, often alternating directions either constantly or intermittently. Using a sprinkler works well for plants that do not become over watered easily.

Misting plant irrigation systems are similar to sprinklers. They also use a thin pipe that runs from the water valve to the plants, but this method is often reserved for greenhouses and flower beds. The spigot may sit higher from the ground or shelf than with a traditional sprinkler, and instead of a steady flow it emits a light mist. This type of system works well for rare flowers, which often have a fine line between being over-watered and not watered enough.


Drip methods work much in the same way as other plant irrigation systems, but the spigot is generally low to the ground and provides water in small drips. This works well for many gardens and greenhouses because the water is delivered much slower and more efficiently. A slower delivery gives the plants more time to absorb the water, so less water is needed overall.

The manual method simply means that the person in charge of the plants waters them using a simple garden hose or watering jug. Although this type may not be considered an actual plant irrigation system, it is still a good method that is often overlooked in lieu of convenience. Manual watering helps to avoid using more water than needed. This helps to cut down on utility costs, and prevents plants from being over watered.

To take advantage of one of the more complex watering systems, it is sometimes necessary to hire a professional sprinkler or landscaping crew. However, this is not always the case. Some small or more simply designed systems can be installed by anyone with a few tools and a little extra time. Self installations are usually reserved for small scale systems, but are a good way for homeowners to save money.



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