Drip irrigation works in one situation – row crops where there are emitters at the bases of plants. Even there the system isn’t perfect. You can’t see where the water is going and the maintenance is high. It’s impossible to avoid dry spots and supersaturated spots. Rodents love to eat holes in the tapes and tubes. In landscape, especially in groundcover beds, drip is a poor choice at best, and a disaster in most cases.
Spray systems are usually better. You can see where the water is going and there is better coverage. Plants like to be watered from above – like when it rains. Don’t accept the claim that moisture on the foliage leads to disease issues. That’s just not the case . Drip systems might save a little water, but if the plants die, what have you gained?
Several cities are now dictating the use of drip irrigation. These policies should be changed. An alternate policy of requiring organic landscape management would save a great deal of water. It would also reduce air, soil and water pollution. Landscape projects would also look better, be healthier and be easier to maintain.