Drip systems should run longer than
sprinkler systems because they deliver
water more slowly.
Because plants have different watering needs than grass, your irrigation clock should allow different settings for drip and sprinkler stations.
Drip irrigation is truly beneficial to plants in desert environments. Drip systems should run longer than sprinkler systems because they deliver water more slowly.
Determine the amount of time to water based on the rate of flow of your drip emitters, the types of plants you are watering and the condition of the soil.
To find out how fast your drip emitter produces water, measure how many seconds it takes to fill a tablespoon:
Drip irrigation is usually needed less frequently than sprinkler irrigation. The following frequency is recommended by SNWA and should provide most plants with sufficient water:
In general, the higher the gph flow of your emitter, the shorter your drip system run time.
|Emitter Type||Length of Watering|
(Up to 20 gph)
|12 Minutes Each Watering|
(Up to 4 gph)
|30 Minutes Each Watering|
(Up to 2 gph)
|60 Minutes Each Watering|
(Up to 1 gph)
|90 Minutes Each Watering|
If your plants appear stressed, check the soil moisture. If the soil is wet, your plants may be over watered. Water less often or for less time. If the soil is dry, check that all emitters are working. If they are, increase the watering time or add emitters only near the stressed plants.
Water plants by applying water slowly and deeply over a long period of time. Deep watering allows roots to become more firmly established which means healthier plants. It also means less run-off as water is applied slow enough that the soil is able to absorb it. Because deep watering is more important than frequency, be sure to check the soil for moisture and proper drainage.
A new plant may require only one emitter initially. As the plant grows, so does the demand for water. When a drip system is installed, it should be designed so it has the flexibility to change the amount of emitters and the location of the emitters in the landscape. Each emitter should give you at least a 30-minute run time without runoff. Trees may also need more drip irrigation adjustments as they mature. See below for general drip emitter quantities.
|Plant Type||Canopy Diameter||Minimum # of Emitters|
|Small Shrubs/Groundcovers||1-3 Feet||2|
|Large Shrubs||4-6 Feet||2-3|
|Small Trees||7-10 Feet||3-5|
|Medium Trees||11-14 Feet||4-6|
|Large Trees||15-20 Feet||6-12|
|Extra Large Trees||21+ Feet||12+|
Check your drip line periodically for breaks and check emitters for clogs or heads that have broken off. Ensure that each emitter is releasing the proper amount of water.
Flush the drip irrigation lines and filters every time you change your irrigation schedule or at least twice a year. Find the "end cap" on your drip line. This should be at the furthest point from your valve box. Open the cap and briefly run the system to flush out any debris that could be clogging your line. Turn off the water before trying to recap your line.
The Mandatory Watering Restrictions also apply to customers with drip irrigation systems, and the restrictions limit the number of days you can water per week. In addition, landscape experts agree that running drip irrigation less frequently than sprinkler irrigation is much better for plants.
Get step-by-step instructions on how to set your irrigation clock. Play
Get tips to ensure your drip irrigation system is running efficiently. See
Learn how to find leaks inside and outside your home.Launch
Copyright © 2014 Southern Nevada Water Authority