Drip irrigation systems work by slowly dripping your chosen water & nutrient solution directly at the base of plants. Drip irrigation systems allow you to finely calibrate the amount of water/nutrients you feed. Drip feeding plants is economical and wastes very little as it drips nutrient solution directly on to the roots of your plants. Drip feeding allows you to feed little and often, meaning you can push your plants with an aggressive schedule. As you deliver nutrients directly to the plant's roots, drip irrigation systems are highly efficient and extremely versatile. They’re used in a number of different types of growing system, and can be used in conjunction with several types of media. No matter how you grow, drip feeding will be suitable for you. Read our buyers guide below for more information on drip irrigation systems.
Dripper Systems use a pump to pressurise a number of dripper lines to slowly and predictably water your plants at a steady rate across all drippers in the system. It’s important to keep the rate constant across all drippers so that the same amount of nutrient solution is delivered to each plant throughout each period of watering. Dripper systems can be as efficient as 90%, which is far more efficient with water usage when compared with sprinkler systems as the feed is delivered directly to the roots. Dripper systems also reduce the chance of disease when compared with sprinkler systems, since no moisture will sit on leaves.
Dripper systems can be recirculating - where excess run off is returned to the reservoir or run-to-waste - where excess nutrient solution literally goes down the drain after use. Different substrates will require varying delivery rates of nutrient solution; Soil requires a comparatively smaller amount per feed compared with clay balls, it just depends on the drainage capabilities of your medium and the volume of water your plants will be drinking. Experiment with your system to see if changing the feed duration will improve your results!
The ‘Intelligent Water System’ (IWS) dripper uses a brain pot to pump nutrient solution to the dripper stakes in the top of each pot. Any excess solution runs through the pot to the catchment trays where it is transported back to the brain pot, which prevents your medium from becoming waterlogged. IWS drippers work best with coco or soil but can be used with rockwool croutons, 60/40 or clay pebbles. The IWS dripper is the only off the shelf run-to-waste option for dripper systems, as once the float valve in the brain is triggered, the brain pumps the used feed to waste - meaning your EC and pH levels stay more consistent between tank changes or top-ups and you’ll be able to easily stay on top of what's in your reservoir.
The Wilma Dripper is a very popular system that allows the automation of irrigating your garden. The Wilma is a cost-effective route of dripper irrigation and they offer an assortment of footprint sizes and number of pots to accommodate for any size of garden and any size of plant.
The Flo-Gro is a hybrid system as it combines two methods of hydroponics into one for superior results. The system combines a dripper ring with a flood and drain system which enables a plant to be top-fed in a similar way to a dripper system whilst the majority of the substrate uses flood and drain to maintain the perfect water-nutrient-oxygen ratio.
GHE WaterFarm Dripper
The GHE WaterFarm uses an air pump to drive a column of aerated water up to a drip ring where it percolates through the medium and drains back into the bottom reservoir. The WaterFarm is innovative in that it uses an air pump to move water so the nutrient solution gets aerated on its way through the pipework leading to a perfect mix of oxygen, water and nutrition at the rootzone.
GHE AquaFarm Dripper
AquaFarms use the same technology as Waterfarms but have a larger capacity so are suited for larger or more plants. All of the benefits of the WaterFarm are carried through to this model.
DIY Dripper systems - Topspin & Danish Trays
You could also make your own dripper system to automate your watering for as many or as few plants as you require. The Topspin system drives 12 drippers, and you can run several topspins in a loop on a single pump - as long as the pumps capacity is big enough each dripper will deliver the same amount of solution. TopSpins have an inbuilt filter to remove particulates and reduce the likelihood of clogs but you should use an inline filter to remove all particulates. Danish Trays are perfect for use in conjunction with TopSpin Dripper systems since they have an easy to drain gully that allows the runoff to accumulate in the drain of the Danish Tray. from here it can be pumped to waste for a run-to-waste system or transported back to the reservoir for a recirculating system.
Tips & Tricks
All dripper systems have the potential to clog due to the small diameter of dripper tubes and emitters - it’s important to use residue-free nutrient ranges to prevent this from happening. You could also use a line cleaner that will help remove salt buildup from occurring which could negatively affect the growth of your plants - as always prevention is better than cure.
If you've got any more questions about dripper systems, email us or call our specialist team on 0800 085 7995.