Achieve a Sustainable Landscape with Subsurface Drip Irrigation

Achieve a Sustainable Landscape with Subsurface Drip Irrigation

The idea for subsurface drip irrigation came from Israel (where water is as precious as gold) about 50 years ago. For many years, however, a problem with subsurface irrigation was root intrusion and blockage. When underground drip systems were installed in grass, roots would attempt and sometimes succeed in plugging the drip outlet holes. The faulty remedy? Herbicides! Since herbicides are poisons that damage our environment, this was not a good choice, so there was resistance to installing this type of product.


After years of testing, the world’s largest sprinkler manufacturer, Rainbird, came out with a new product last year that solves the problem of plugged drip outlet holes, their XF-SDI Series Dripline. It has proven to be effective, reliable, and environmentally friendly. It is a sustainable subsurface drip irrigation system that works by using a technology called “Copper Shield.” The same copper that safely delivers water throughout our homes is used to protect emitters from root intrusion. Mowing the lawn is not a problem, and fertilizer (through a system called “fertigation”) can be added in liquid form directly into the irrigation system, delivering fertilizer to your grass, not the gutter and ocean.

Choosing a subsurface irrigation system will also do away with water spots on cars left in driveways, green algae rings on houses and fences, unsafe slippery sidewalks, and fertilizers being carried to gutters and, eventually, the ocean.

What is subsurface drip irrigation? It is tubing that is trenched 1 inch to 2 inches below the grass surface and covered over with grass seed. When the surface drip irrigation system comes on, the grass roots are watered.

Do grass blades need to be watered? No. The benefit of subsurface irrigation is to distribute water only where it is needed, the roots of a plant. Drip irrigation is the world’s most efficient type of irrigation, and subsurface drip is especially so because it is unaffected by wind and evaporation. This results in 70% less water use than conventional overhead sprinklers.