All About Greenhouse Drip Irrigation
What is greenhouse drip irrigation? It is a water delivery system in which water is applied drop by drop - slowly. The water is sent to the soil at the base of the plant. When your drip irrigation system is thought out and designed correctly, you don't have to wonder about how much water to apply. By the use of soil saturation sensors, water is applied when the soil is too dry and not at the correct moisture level.
When you want to accurately gauge and control the amount of moisture in your commercial greenhouse, an automated greenhouse drip irrigation system is the way to go. It's an exact and simple method that applies water by sensing the needs of the soil. Growers save time, money, and it's incredibly accurate. It takes out the guesswork and human error.
Why is Available Soil Moisture Important?
Greenhouse Drip Irrigation: Available Soil Moisture
The productivity and growth of plants are determined by how much moisture is available in the soil. The current moisture level can be determined by:
soil and plant appearance
signs of wilting in leaves
signs of stress of succulent terminal leaves
dry soil that won't compress in your hands
Even before there is a visible lack of water and plant wilting, lack of moisture can be harmful to plants. Water deficiency can result in:
end rot in tomatoes
With correctly designed greenhouse irrigation, you can replace the less than accurate and time-consuming traditional methods and maintain optimum moisture levels for your soil.
Conventional irrigation methods usually wet the plants lower leaves and stems. The entire soil surface is saturated and often stays wet long after irrigation is completed. Such conditions promote infection by gray mold-rot (Botrytis) and leaf mold fungi.
With the more traditional irrigation methods, lower stems and leaves on plants are watered more heavily. That results in over-saturation of the entire area of soil and promotes leaf mold fungi and gray mold-rot.
At 10 to 12 inches deep within the soil, most greenhouse vegetables remove large amounts of water. That is a critical depth when gauging moisture and cannot be determined accurately by testing the top couple of inches of the dirt.
Also, evaporation and transpiration are everyday occurrences in greenhouses on sunny days. That can result in excessive moisture loss and damage to the plants even when enough moisture is added back. This type of water stress, no matter how intermittent or slight can cut profits because of low harvest weight.
How Efficient is Greenhouse Drip Irrigation?
For commercial irrigation of
the drip method is the most efficient. When your drip system is well-designed, your efficiency can go to almost 100%. Compare that to other types of overhead irrigation such as pop-up spray heads and rotors which have an efficiency of only 50% to 70%.
What are the Benefits of Greenhouse Drip Irrigation?
Saves time & money
Installation and maintenance costs for a greenhouse drip irrigation system are typically much lower than an underground sprinkler system. They are often exempt from watering restrictions because of their efficiency. Be sure to check your local rules and restrictions.
Greenhouse drip irrigation systems operate at pressures between 15 and 30 psi, eliminating the need for a booster pump in low-pressure systems.
In a greenhouse environment, large areas can be watered all at once because of its low flow rate.
CUSTOMIZAble & precise
No more under-watering or over-watering, plants get just the amount of water they need.
Drip irrigation works well for many locations, terrains, crops, and soil conditions.
The flexible system is easy to change as plants are removed or added.
Saves Water & Eco-Friendly
Greenhouse drip irrigation uses less water since water is delivered only to the plants that need it.
Evaporation losses are low with greenhouse drip irrigation systems, especially when used along with mulching.
For windy open-air conditions, it works much better than sprinklers. And it has advantages over horizontal airflow sprinklers in greenhouses.
Drip irrigation in a greenhouse environment reduces and has the potential to eliminate pollution from runoff.
Fewer Weeds & Disease
Drip irrigation creates fewer weeds because the area between plants is not irrigated.
Greenhouse drip irrigation reduces the incidence of foliage diseases.
Drip irrigation improves plant health by delivering fertilizer, and other chemicals precisely where they are needed.
It improves plant health by reducing fluctuations in soil moisture.
What Can You Expect?
Save time by not having to manually control the irrigation systems or spend excessive amounts of time checking on moisture levels.
Instead of water spraying into the air, it's applied directly to the soil. That method keeps leaves and stems drier.
There won't be water collecting in puddles or splashing around because it is applied at the correct rate so it will percolate into the soil.
Fewer foliage diseases such as gray mold-rot or leaf mold.
Since the soil surface stays drier than with spray methods, there is less fruit deterioration and evaporation loss.
If everything else is in place and there are no limiting factors, there can be increased production.
Get Your Free 15 Minute Consultation Today
Call 408-332-9635 or contact us online. The team at Voeks, Inc. is here to help you grow.