Soil Type

Soil type should be considered one of the most important variables when designing a drip system. When choosing the type of soil, it is important to consider the type not only on the surface but throughout the root zone of the plant being watered as well. The soil type will affect the infiltration rate and therefore the spacing of the emitters and lateral rows.

Soil is composed of sand, silt and clay particles. The percentage of each of these particles determines the soil type or texture of a specific soil. If you are not sure of the soil type, visit the site and examine a soil sample from the area to be irrigated and compare it to the soil characteristics table below.

Easy Soil Type Test
  1. Remove 1 to 2 cups of soil from the zone to be irrigated.
  2. Place into a glass jar, like a mason jar.
  3. Fill the jar half way with water. Shake and let sit for 2 hours so the particles can settle. The heavier sand particles will settle to the bottom, then silt, then clay on top.
  4. Measure the height of all 3 layers of the soil then the height of each layer; divide the height of each layer by the total height to figure out the percentage of each soil in the jar.
  5. Apply these figures to the "Soil Classification" chart below. In the example, now you know the landscape soil is Silt Loam.