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around the plant. Because much of the water

You can design a simple drip system to

soakers. And garden stores are filled with

is thrown high in the air, loss due to

direct low flows of water to individual

many other kinds of gadgets and tools to

evaporation can be significant. Sprinklers

plants, either by laying polyethylene tubing

help you water your garden, such as rain

can also foster fungal diseases and other

on the ground or burying it shallowly. Or

gauges, mechanical and electronic timers,

problems with some plants such as roses

you can buy a more sophisticated custom-

and watering cans.

that don't like having wet foliage. Sprinklers

designed system. But drip systems have

require good water pressure and are best

their limitations. They don't work for lawns

For small areas, container plantings and

used on plants which are not in bloom.

or broad areas, and they can be damaged if

seedlings, watering cans work well. Make

Several types of sprinklers are available.

children or pets dig them up. The required

sure your can has an attachment so that

Drip or trickle irrigation using low-flow

number of emitters, misters and sprayers

water can be delivered like a fine rain.

hoses or emitters can save more than half

can add up cost wise. A drip system also

When picking a can, keep in mind that they

the water that overhead sprinklers lose due

may require a water-pressure reducer to

are quite heavy when filled. A two-gallon

to evaporation or runoff. It also reduces

keep low-volume fittings functioning

container full of water is as heavy as most

disease, because the foliage is never wetted.

properly. Soaker hoses are similar to drip

people can carry. Make sure that the handle

This type of irrigation never saturates the

systems in some ways, but are even simpler.

and the rest of the can are designed for ease

soil, so there is little bad effect on overall

Soaker hoses "leak" water along the length

of carrying.

soil structure. Since the area that's watered

of the hose. You can buy flat plastic hoses or

is smaller, weed growth is reduced as well.

soakers made from recycled rubber tires,

And drip systems don't require trenching.

known as sweaty hoses or leaky pipe

Written by Karen Cole. Courtesy of,