Subsurface drip irrigation has gained wide acceptance for agricultural irrigation around the world. More recently, drip irrigation has evolved as a viable irrigation alternative for small and irregular landscape areas — locations where overhead sprinklers provide inefficient coverage.
Drip irrigation has finally found its way into large turf areas, a market once reserved only for rotors and sprays. While many people continue to be skeptical about drip irrigation use for large turf, testing conducted by the Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT) in Fresno, CA, and installations around the country are proving that subsurface drip irrigation works.
In a 1993 research report conclusion (CATI Publication 930405), CIT stated the following: “The use of subsurface drip irrigation to irrigate turfgrass has passed from the stage of university research to commercial application.”
Critics of subsurface drip for large turf point to problems with root intrusion into the drip tubing and internal plugging of emitters caused by algae, slime and poor quality water. However, these arguments are vanishing. New filtration technology, chlorine disinfection and large orifices in subsurface drip products are making the case stronger for subsurface drip irrigation.
To inhibit root intrusion, several manufacturers have incorporated the herbicide trifluralin into their products. Some manufacturers put the herbicide directly into the emission devices; the herbicide release is at the parts per billion level. One manufacturer offers a filter with replaceable disc ring assemblies that can be used to renew protection against root intrusion.
Please conserve water; use it wisely.