How Long Should You Water a Garden With Drip Irrigation?

Drip irrigation offers an easy way to ensure that your garden is adequately watered regardless of the time of the year or the species of plants you cultivate. If the system is appropriately designed and constructed, drip irrigation can aid with water conservation by lowering the evaporation rate and reducing deep drainage.  

You should water your garden with drip irrigation for 12 to 90 minutes. The length of time required for irrigation is directly proportional to the rate of flow of your drip emitters. Hence, the higher the system’s flow rate, the shorter the length of time you should water your garden.

Drip irrigation may be used in any farmable climate, is cost-effective for small-scale gardening, and works with most soils. However, you must understand the system and how it works to use it in your garden expertly. Read on to know how to water a garden using drip irrigation and for more information about the irrigation system.

How To Water a Garden With Drip Irrigation

The method you choose to irrigate your garden plants might be the difference between having a lovely, beautiful garden and growing a shabby patch of soil. 

Sprinklers are undoubtedly more convenient to operate than a traditional watering can, but they can also be less exact. Consider using drip irrigation if you want to water your plant in the most practical and regulated way possible.

To water a garden with drip irrigation, follow these steps:

  1. Design and install the system’s hardware.
  2. Install the system’s tubing and drippers.
  3. Tweak the system until it is ideal for your garden.

You must purchase some components to build a drip irrigation system for your garden. These components are:

  • End cap: An end cap keeps water from dripping out of a dripline’s end.
  • Drippers: Drip irrigation drippers are little plastic devices that attach to irrigation drip lines and release water into the soil.
  • Backflow manager: This device stops your irrigation water from being drawn back into the source, where it may get contaminated with dirt and germs from the soil.
  • Dripline: This plastic tube attaches to a pressure regulator through a tubing adapter. Water is transported from the valve to your garden plants via this flexible tube.
  • Pressure regulator: Even if the pressure in your household water supply changes, pressure regulators can reduce the water pressure and maintain a steady low-pressure flow. To ensure your garden is well irrigated, you should consider an engineering-grade pressure regulator.
  • Filter: A drip irrigation system’s filter keeps debris from blocking the dripline. You can use drip filters to ensure that your garden drip irrigation does not get clogged.
  • Valve: The flow of water is controlled by this equipment. You may program your irrigation times by installing an automated timer on a water valve.

How Does Drip Irrigation Work?

Watering your garden might seem like a hassle at first, and it may take a few attempts to figure out what works best for your crops, but using drip irrigation may benefit you. Thankfully, you can use many watering systems for gardens, and you may even automate it. The most important of these systems is the drip irrigation system.

Drip irrigation works by gradually releasing water into the garden. Also known as trickling irrigation, it consists of tiny plastic pipes with special devices called emitters or drippers, which slowly drip water into the soil. 

This system has many benefits; it helps prevent the spread of many illnesses transferred by irrigation water, and it regulates the transfer of water as well.

The water is sprayed near plants so that only the soil area in which the roots develop is wetted, unlike other types of irrigation, which entails watering the entire soil profile. Hence, you may supply water more accurately to the plant roots than other types of irrigation systems like overhead sprinklers or flood irrigation.

Drip irrigation is 90% efficient in watering plants, but regular sprinkler systems are 50% to 70% efficient. Therefore, many water utilities and municipalities exempt drip-irrigated landscapes from drought limitations because of their high efficiency.

Row crops (vegetables, soft fruit), tree and vine crops, and other crops where one or more emitters may be given for each plant, are the best candidates for drip irrigation. However, due to the high cost of constructing a drip irrigation system, only important crops are usually selected, but the system is affordable for gardens due to its modest size.

Drip irrigation may be used on any terrain that is suitable for farming. The crop is usually planted following unique contour lines, and the water supply pipes are also laid along with these outlines. This arrangement is made to reduce variations in dripper flow rate caused by changes in land elevation.

Most soils are suitable for drip irrigation, although clay soils require moderate water application to minimize surface water ponding and erosion. Furthermore, to guarantee appropriate lateral soaking of sandy soils, more effective emitter flow rates will be required in the system.

One of the most familiar issues with drip irrigation systems is dripper obstruction. Drippers have very narrow channels with diameters ranging from 0.007 to 0.07 inches (0.2 to 2mm), which can get blocked if the irrigation water is dirty. As a result, sediments, algae, fertilizer deposits, and dissolved minerals must be removed from irrigation water.

If not, the irrigation water will have to be filtered. Effective filtration may eliminate some of the materials, but the situation may be complex, requiring the assistance of an experienced farmer or qualified engineer. Drip irrigation is beneficial for salty water and water of poor quality.

However, an irrigation system is only as effective as the watering plan that is followed. Any system, even drip irrigation, might waste resources if it is programmed to water excessively.

How Often Should You Water With Drip Irrigation?

The flow rate of the drippers, which vary between 0.5 to 4 gallons per hour (2.3 to 18 liters per hour), is one aspect that influences how long you should operate a drip irrigation system in your garden. The number of emitters in the design and the soil type in your garden also affect how long you can water with drip irrigation.

You can water your garden one or more times a week using drip irrigation. The watering frequency depends on the season, and you should run your system at least twice weekly in summer, spring, and fall and less often in winter. However, you can water your garden on any day of the week.

Ideally, you should water your garden as often as every two days in summer if the temperatures get high. However, once a week or every other week is sufficient for winter.

What Time of Day Is Best for Drip Irrigation?

The success of drip irrigation systems lies in the details. If your garden will benefit from the system, you must ask important questions, including what time of the day is most suitable to water your crops using drip irrigation. Unsurprisingly, many gardens turn out successfully because the gardener took account of all factors in the watering process.

The best time for drip irrigation is before the sun rises, early in the morning. This practice helps your plants to stay hydrated throughout the day without becoming wet when the sun sets, which can cause moisture-related illnesses.

Tips For Maintaining Your Drip Irrigation System

Like every other system, drip irrigation systems need regular maintenance to ensure they effectively water your garden. A new plant may only need one dripper at first, but as it develops, so does its water demand. When installing a drip irrigation system, make sure it is built to allow you to adjust the number of drippers and where they are placed in the garden.

Here are a few tips for maintaining your drip irrigation system:

  • Do not overwater your plants.
  • Optimize your emitters to your garden’s watering needs.
  • Do not surpass your irrigation system’s drip line capacity.
  • Ensure there is sufficient water supply to the system.
  • Ensure the flow rate of the irrigation system is enough to fulfill your garden’s needs.
  • Make sure that water supply pressure is adequate for your garden.
  • You should swap out your drip lines, filters, and drippers once or twice a year to ensure no blockage exists in the system.
  • Avoid putting water on the foliage, watering as near the earth as possible.


You should water your garden with drip irrigation for 12 to 90 minutes, depending on the flow rate and type of emitter used in your garden. However, you must properly set up your drip irrigation system to ensure it is efficiently delivering water to your garden.

Although you can water your system on any day of the week, you should ensure to water it as often as every two days during summer and less so during other times. Furthermore, the early morning hours are the best time to water your garden using drip irrigation.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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