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Installing a Drip Irrigation System For Your Garden

Installing a Drip Irrigation System

Drip irrigation isn't just for commercial farmers or climates that experience droughts. It is convenient, handy, time-saving, easy to use, and inexpensive for the home gardener as well. Garden watering can be a real chore. A medium size garden can take over an hour to water thoroughly, especially during a heat spell. Even heat spells that last a few days can completely deplete your garden of water. Drip irrigation solves these issues easily.

A drip irrigation system delivers water through pinprick size holes in a hose that is arranged around your plants. The hoses are all connected to each other and to a water pump and pressure controller.  The pump supplies the water and the controller regulates how much water is delivered through each hole. A drip irrigation system can be as small or large as you like. The hardest part of using a drip irrigation system is deciding where to lay the hose and setting it all up. Once it is laid out though, you don't have to worry about watering the garden for the rest of the season. As any gardener knows, this is a huge deal.

A system can be set up relatively inexpensively. A pump, pressure controller, and tubing are all you need to start this system. Some people have used an old garden hose with holes poked in it in place of specialty tubing. While this may save some money, the specialty tubing is worth investing in. It is much thinner than a garden hose and easier to work with.

There are two types of drip irrigation: above ground and below ground. There are benefits and downsides to both and the one you choose will depend on your own garden's needs.

Above ground Irrigation System

above ground irrigation
Above ground drip irrigation dribbles small amounts of water onto the soil around the base of the plants. This method of irrigation is simple to move around, realign, cut off, and replace, as needed. If you need more irrigation, it is simple to add more hose. The biggest downside to the above ground system is that it is less efficient, compared to below ground irrigation. The sun evaporates some of the water so the plants aren't actually getting all that is being delivered to them.

Below ground Irrigation System

Below ground drip irrigation is a lot more complicated to set up and maintain, however, it delivers water to the plants in a better, efficient, manner. The water is supplied to the plants at their roots, directly where they need it. To install this system, a narrow trench is dug out, the hoses are placed into them, and then they are covered up. This needs to be set up before any planting is done. This type of system is best for someone who has the same garden layout every year. Any readjustment of the design will require digging up the hose and realigning it. Additionally, if the hoses get clogged, it can be hard to tell. Determining exactly where it is clogged, and fixing it is a time-consuming endeavor. Generally, this drip irrigation set up isn't practical for most gardeners. If you'd like to use your time more efficiently in your garden, consider setting up a drip irrigation system. The hours in watering in saves you completely worth it.

Spring Landscaping Essentials

During the spring season, many of our customers in Naperville, Aurora, Plainfield and surrounding towns use our Spring Cleanup services to refurbish their lawns and landscapes. Spring is the perfect time to prepare your lawn and landscape for the upcoming season. Winter damage can be easily fixed during the spring with the applications of fertilizers and some lawn renovation.

Our Spring services may include one or more of the following services:

  • Clearing away leaves, branches, and clutter
  • Re-edging and cleaning garden and flower beds
  • Redefining the borders of the lawn
  • Grass mowing if necessary
  • Re-seed damaged areas of the lawn
  • Pruning and trimming trees and shrubs
  • Fertilizing, seeding and aerating the lawn
  • Power rake (Dethatching)
  • Providing post-emergent and pre-emergent weed control
  • Pest control treatments
  • Planting flowers
  • Mulching of flower beds

We offer all types and colors of mulch:

  • Dyed Red Mulch
  • Dyed Brown
  • Dyed Black
  • Dyed Gold
  • Premium Hardwood
  • Pine Needle Mulch
  • Double Processed Natural Mulch
  • Play Mat Mulch
  • Organic Mulch (Compost)
  • Cedar Mulch

How To Choose The Best Mulch

With so many varieties of mulch available, it can be difficult to choose. From dyed mulch to pine needle mulch, we cover the mulch basics to help you select which one will work best in your landscape.

Shredded Bark

Shredded bark is an all natural one of the most common and least expensive types of mulch. Shredded bark is one of the best mulch types to use on slopes and it breaks down relatively slowly providing coverage for a longer time. Shredded bark mulch can take up some nitrogen from the soil as it decomposes. If you have poor soil, adding some organic fertilizer to the soil can help keep your shrubs healthy.

Dyed Mulch

Looks is the number one reason to even consider colored mulch. In terms of its utility, colored mulch is essentially identical to regular mulch, but people find the shock of red, black, chocolate color attractive and enjoy the way it complements their existing plants and landscape.

The real controversy surrounding mulch dyes exists due to smaller, off-brand companies that use cheaper materials that are considered toxic. Here at Westfield, we make sure we only use the safest and best quality.

Pine Bark Nuggets

Bark nuggets are slower to break down than shredded bark, but they don’t stay in place as well. Pine bark is long lasting, and when it does break down it enriches the soil with organic material. Water pooling can cause bark nuggets to float and spread. They’re not a good mulch choice for slopes or other areas where they may be washed away by heavy rain.

 

Gravel or River Rock (Decorative Stone)

Gravel and river rocks are inorganic materials thus don’t break down in the landscape. They don’t need to be reapplied every year. However, it also means they don’t improve your soil over time.

 

Compost

Compost looks like soil, just a little darker. This material breaks down quickly but adds to your soil structure the fastest. This is one of the less used mulch type in gardens due to the looks. It is the most beneficial to your plants and shrubs.

Landscape Preparation For Winter

Fall chores are your last chance to prepare your outdoor landscape for winter. Here we will guide you to some very basic steps you can take to protect and preserve your lawn and landscape.

 

Spread Mulch

Fall mulching helps protect roots from frost and helps retain moisture during a cold and dry winter. We normally spread 2 to 3 inches of  mulch around shrubs and trees.

Remove the Dead and Dying

If you remove dead landscaping in the fall, you don’t have to look at it all winter.

  • Remove dead annual plants.
  • Cut back dead ornamental grasses and perennials.
  • Lightly prune dead and dying branches from shrubs and trees.
  • After the first frost, cut back tea roses to about a third of their height.

Wrap Delicate Shrubs

Heavy snow, ice, and high winds can dry and split your delicate and pricey shrubs. To protect your landscaping from the winter elements:

  • Hide small plants under overturned plastic pots or buckets.
  • Wrap shrubs, such as boxwoods, in burlap.
  • Surround vulnerable trees with shredded leaves.