Drip Irrigation

Drip Irrigation FAQ

FAQ about drip irrigation

FAQ about the nature of soil, water & plants

Other FAQ

What is Drip Irrigation?

Drip irrigation, also referred to a drip, dripline, subsurface or low volume irrigation, is the process of delivering precise amounts of water and nutrients directly to the plant’s root zone, drop by drop, offering users exact irrigation control and efficient use of limited water resources.

Netafim dripline products such as Techline CV and Techline feature pressure compensating, continuously self-flushing emitters. With Techline CV, a check valve psi also built into every emitter. With both products, you may install them subsurface or on-surface exactly where you want to irrigate.

For more information Netafim’s revolutionary driplines please visit About Techline CV or About Techline.

Netafim dripline is the quickest and easiest way to install irrigation for shrub beds, narrow strips or areas bordering buildings, walls, walkways and streets.

Just snake it around the plants, secure it with soil staples every few feet and cover with mulch.

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Why Should I Use Drip, Dripine or Low Volume Irrigation?

  • Saves water Netafim dripline is far more water-conserving than sprinklers. In general, Netafim applications use 30% – 70% less water than an overhead irrigation system and plants grow to maturity about 50% faster. Water loss due to evaporation, mist, surface runoff or wind interference is virtually eliminated. Because of the conserving nature of Netafim low volume products, users report that they are typically granted an exemption from their water management district when other forms of irrigation are being restricted or banned. Check with your water management agency for more information.
  • Slow even flow of water to plants and soil Shrubs and plants will thrive. A slow, steady application of water and nutrients directly to the plant’s roots is the best way to ensure plant health and vitality.
  • Easy to install – flexible and adaptable Dripline installs easily in tight, awkwardly shaped areas that are hard to water with spray or rotary sprinklers spray systems. Techline CV and Techline driplines are very flexible and adapt to any planting shape.
  • Solves spray and rotor irrigation problems No damaging spray on buildings, windows, fencing, or pedestrians in high traffic areas. Avoids unsightly brown spots on roses and other flowers, since spray never touches the plants. Soil and foliage are kept dry, reducing fungal diseases.
  • Improved plant growth Makes plants fuller and healthier. Water and nutrients delivered directly to the root zone promotes healthy plant growth and reduces plant stress. Soil aeration is improved because soil particles are not washed down, thus decreasing soil compaction and improving root growth.
  • Saves on maintenance & labor No moving sprinkler parts to have to repair. Installs with far less labor than sprinklers.
  • Unobtrusive & aesthetic Hidden under mulch or beneath the soil. Doesn’t interfere with landscaping or scenery.
  • Cost-effective Dripline is far more cost-effective than sprinklers as it saves both time and money. Decreased labor to install & maintain plus lower overall material cost.
  • Security No exposed sprinkler heads, pipes or surface dripperlines to trip on or tamper with.
  • Reliability and performance You can count on us. Netafim has been the world’s leader in drip technology since 1965.

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Where should I use Emitters?

Shrub beds & planting areas

You’ll be delighted with the fuller blooms and greater beauty of your annuals and perennials when watered with Netafim dripline. Plants and shrubs grow fuller and healthier* with dripline versus sprinkler watering.

  • Based on published research.

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Flower beds & flower gardens

How about those tight or awkward areas that are difficult to water with conventional spray systems? Netafim dripline solves the problem and avoids spraying your walls, window and fences.

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Odd shaped & hard-to-water areas

Consistent watering with Netafim dripline helps establish and protect new shrub beds and planting areas.

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How do the Techline® CV and Techline® Emitters Work?

The Techline pressure compensating emitter is a fully self-contained unit molded to the interior wall of the tubing itself. Both the tubing and the emitter housing are manufactured from high quality synthetic elastomers to withstand chemicals and fertilizers. As shown here, in the 4 step sequence, Techline is continuously self-cleaning during operation, not just at the beginning and end of a cycle. The result is dependable, clog-free operation, year after year.

  1. Regulating Mode

    Water flows freely along the center of the tubing, keeping debris out of the emitter itself. Techline’s exclusive diaphragm and labyrinth design ensures a consistent flow rate.

  2. Initiation of Flushing Cycle

    Particles create back pressure and push back the diaphragm to initiate the flush cycle.

  3. Flushing Cycle

    Diaphragm flexes and any particles are washed out of the regulating chamber.

  4. Regulating Mode

    After flushing, Techline automatically resumes its regulating mode.

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Where can I find out how to design, bid and install a Netafim subsurface or on-surface system?

Netafim irrigation offers a comprehensive series of documents to help you design and install a Techline system. Here are a few ways to learn more.

Visit our Online Library area where many important documents are provided in Adobe PDF format.

Contact us via the web using our Contact Us form.

Our support team is located throughout the United States and Canada to assist you.

Design and installation training is also available through Netafim Distributors throughout the United States. To find the Distributor in your area please visit our Distributor Locator page.

Contact us via phone or fax:

Netafim USA
5470 E. Home Ave.
Fresno, CA 93727

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When I install a Techline CV or Techline system under turf, will I get green and brown stripes?

No. A properly installed Techline turf installation with the right watering schedule will give you more consistent watering and excellent turf quality with less chance of disease and water stress.

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Can I save money by using drip irrigation vs. spray or rotary sprinklers?

Netafim systems are fast and easy to install, especially when you are dealing with long, narrow strips, awkwardly shaped areas, or tree, shrub and bedding plant areas

Plus, Netafim driplines help minimize liability and vandalism and saves your customers’ costs associated with continued maintenance and water usage.

A simple shrub bed installation is quick and easy, either buried below the surface or beneath mulch.

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What if someone damages or cuts through the tubing?

If the tubing is accidentally severed, it is easy to tell because a puddle forms directly overhead. To repair a length of tubing you simply cut out that section and attach a new section with Netafim barbed fittings. Other than a knife, no tools or glue are needed.

Fittings are available in 17mm or 12mm.

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Is there a “root intrusion” problem?

Root intrusion is a problem that can be prevented using 3 different practices, listed at right. Following any of them will help. Using all of them will assure a lifetime of protection.

  1. Use Netafim Techline CV or Techline since they are the ONLY subsurface products designed with a physical root barrier proven in most resistant to root intrusion in tests conducted by the renowned Center for Irrigation Technology (C.I.T.).
  2. Apply a little water every day. If you run your Netafim system for 5 minutes a day, it will help keep the emitters flushed and the soil moisture consistent to that the roots do not seek additional water.
  3. For the ULTIMATE PROTECTION against root intrusion: use the new Netafim Techfilter, with replaceable cartridges.

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Does water only move downward, pulled by gravity?

When applied properly (as in drip irrigation) water RADIATES outward from its source point, creating an overlapping wetting pattern beneath the ground. See the “wetted pattern” illustration” at right.

When applied slowly to the soil at a single point, water moves through the soil in two ways

  1. Downward pulled by gravity; 2) Outward and upward, pulled by a capillary action.

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How can I tell the system is working?

There are several ways to verify that your system is working, including

  1. Feel for moisture just below the surface of the soil directly above an emitter.
  2. Run micro tubing to the surface at the end of a zone and use it as a point source emitter.
  3. Monitor flow at the water meter.
  4. Add a Netafim Pressure/Operation Indicator Stake to a Techline zone. The flag will signal when water pressure inside the tubing reaches 10 psi or more.

Because water travels both upward and outward from the emitter, the soil will usually be damp at, or close to, the surface.

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Do plants have to be watered from “overhead” to wash off dirt and dust?

A report issued by, the independent test lab C.I.T. (Center for Irrigation Technology), states that ” . . . although the [subsurface] research plots are surrounded by fallow fields, dirty leaves have not been noted.”

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What definitions are important to know?

Capillary action

The radial (outward and upward) movement of water through the soil that fills the spaces between particles with capillary moisture.

Capillary moisture

The water held in pore spaces by the surface tension between the water and the soil particles. This is the primary source of water for plants and is also referred to as “available moisture”.

Gravitational water

Free water in the soil which moves downward due to gravity. After a soil has been saturated, the gravitational water percolates downwards, leaving the soil at field capacity.

Field capacity

As much water as the soil can hold against the influence of gravity. If a soil is saturated by rainfall or irrigation and then allowed to drain freely for 24 hours, the soil is usually at field capacity.

Infiltration rate

The rate at which water enters the soil. This rate varies greatly, and may impose a limitation upon the design of an irrigation system since water application rates may result in runoff and erosion.

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What about different soil types?

Subsurface irrigation works better in heavy clay or sand conditions than overhead sprinkler systems.

Even “heavy clay” and “sandy” soils are a mixture sand, silt and clay. Loam, which contains equal proportions of sand, silt and clay, is ideal.

However, plants can thrive in a very broad spectrum of soil textures when subsurface watering is applied at the proper rate, with appropriate spacing.

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Drip irrigation works great in clay soils.

What most people regard as “heavy clay” and “sandy” soils are actually mixtures of sand, silt and clay which will allow for adequate water movement and retention between soil particles.

Different soils create typical wetting pattern shades as seen at right. Note the dramatic overlap ensuring total coverage throughout varying root zone depths.