October 5, 2012

Dramm Dribble Tubes Provide Simple Drip Irrigation

Dramm developed the Dribble Tubes as a simple way to water plants automatically by dripping water directly into each pot. Dramm’s Dribble Tubes flow rate is controlled by the diameter and length of the tube. Dramm offers three diameters of tubing: 0.045 inches, 0.060 inches and 0.075 inches ID. Each diameter comes in lengths from 12 inches to 60 inches standard. Eyelets for both outer diameters are available for a secure connection. Dramm’s SlimWeight slips easily from the pot during harvesting and does not get caught in expanded metal benching. Unlike other weights, the SlimWeight is made from a zinc-aluminum alloy instead of lead.

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August 6, 2012

Capillary Mats Are Back

Thirty years ago, capillary mats were used for production of floricultural pot crops like Easter lilies. The advantage was that plants could be grown practically pot-to-pot, thus maximizing plants per square foot. Also, since Easter lilies grow best when fertigated with tempered water delivered on a uniform schedule, the capillary mat was ideal. During the 1990s, capillary mats for growing plants fell out of favor as a fertigation method when compared to drip irrigation and other sub-irrigation methods. However, recent advances in electronic controls, mat composition and the use of a drip tape to deliver water directly to the mat at even locations, make cap-mat watering worthy of another look. Combine this with concerns about groundwater contamination, quantity, quality and costs associated with water usage, cap mats and their low-water requirements will certainly come back into the greenhouse growing picture. There are a number of capillary mat types available, each […]

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July 9, 2012

Save Water With Automation And Sensors

Automating irrigation is a great way to save water. One of the latest innovations in irrigation automation is the use of substrate moisture sensors to trigger irrigation. These sensors are relatively inexpensive and, when used, can conserve water and, consequently, reduce pollution and the amount of money spent on electricity for pumps in wells. A wide variety of annual and perennial plants may be irrigated with as little as 0.3 to 1.3 gallons of water for the entire cropping cycle using substrate moisture sensors. Sensors Ensure Proper Substrate Moisture For High-Quality Plants Most substrate moisture sensors literally measure the amount of water in soils. This is usually expressed by volume, as the ratio of the volume of water to the volume of substrate in a pot (substrate moisture content percent = (volume of water xvolume of substrate) / 100). In peat-based substrates, the substrate moisture content of 45 to 50 […]

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April 26, 2012

Subirrigation: Watering From The Ground Up

The goal for any irrigation system is to deliver water to the growing medium as effectively and efficiently as possible. Effectively means getting the right amount of water into the growing medium. Efficiently means minimizing the amount of water that is lost from the system.  In order to irrigate effectively, an irrigation system must deliver water uniformly to every pot in an irrigation zone. An efficient irrigation system will either deliver water with minimal leaching and runoff or capture and reuse all the water that is not retained in the growing medium. Sub-irrigation systems are generally both more effective and efficient than top-down systems. These systems include capillary mats, troughs, flood and drain trays and flood floors. Capillary Mats The simplest form of sub-irrigation, in these systems water is delivered to a porous mat that is in contact with the bottom of the container. This allows water to move from […]

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April 24, 2012

Hand Watering, Booms, Sprinklers Or Drip?

The amount of water that can be held by the substrate in a given container with a specific irrigation method is the effective water-holding capacity (EWHC). It may be desirable to maintain the moisture content of the medium below EWHC in order to regulate plant growth or reduce the risk of soil-borne diseases. Overall, it is important to irrigate thoroughly. The amount of water applied must be sufficient to re-wet the entire volume of growing medium. If the medium is dry and not enough water is applied, only part of the mix will be re-wetted. In irrigating thoroughly, the method of delivery plays an important role. With top-down irrigation, water will be pulled downward by the force of gravity. As it moves downward, some will be held by the growing medium. Usually, some water will escape from the bottom of the pot before the medium is thoroughly wet. At the […]

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March 6, 2012

Predicting Plant Water Uptake

Understanding plant water use begins with substrates, which serve as the water reservoir for plants. There are a few basic concepts that will help you understand the impact that substrate selection has on plant water availability. Container capacity (or water-holding capacity) is the maximum amount of water a substrate can hold. To calculate the container capacity of your substrate, fill a container with dry substrate and seal the container holes. Once you measure the amount of water you need to add to completely fill the container, place the container over a catch basin and remove the seals. Allow the container to drain for one hour and measure the amount of water that drained from the substrate. The container capacity is: (volume to saturate-drainage) divided by volume of container. Then, multiply that figure by 100 percent. A container capacity of 60 to 70 percent is typical for soilless substrates. Another important […]

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August 3, 2011

Using ABA To Reduce Water Loss In Chrysanthemum & Aster

Greenhouse crop production often employs the use of plant hormones and growth-regulating chemicals to control growth such as plant height, rooting and flowering. Abscisic acid (ABA) is a natural plant hormone produced in roots in response to drought conditions. ABA is moved to the leaves, where it stimulates the closure of stomata, reduces water loss and halts photosynthesis. Until recently, ABA has not been used in greenhouse crop production because there have been no products registered for commercial use. However, Valent BioSciences Corporation is planning to release ConTego Pro, a new plant growth regulator utilizing S-abscisic acid (S-ABA), the biologically active form of ABA. ConTego Pro has already received EPA registration. To delay wilting, S-ABA is best applied as a foliar spray. An application causes the stomata to close, and therefore, reduces water loss from the leaves. Treated plants exposed to water-limiting conditions can therefore tolerate a longer period of […]

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June 9, 2011

Netafim’s More Sustainable Dripline

Netafim USA’s high performance Techline CV dripline is now manufactured with recycled materials, giving Netafim the opportunity to earn LEED credits on landscape installations. Techline CV is used in a broad range of applications to irrigate turf, trees, shrubs and bedding areas. The flexible tubing features two PSI check valves in each dripper for equalized application of water throughout the system (all drippers turn on and off at the same time). Check valves also prevent low emitter drainage with elevation changes up to 4 1/2 feet. Techline CV’s dripper design offers continuous self-flushing throughout the line, not just at the beginning or end or a cycle. Pressure compensation allows equal amounts of water to be delivered over a broad pressure range (14.7 to 70 PSI), and a physical root barrier protects the internal system from root intrusion without chemicals. Techline CV can be installed above ground or sub-surface, and it delivers water directly […]

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January 12, 2010

Water Treatment & Recycling Workshop In New Jersey

The Water Education Alliance is hosting a water treatment and recycling workshop January 21 in at Van Vugt Greenhouse in Pompton Plains, N.J. Growers who attend the one-day workshop will learn how to manage pathogens, algae, biofilm and salt problems in irrigation water, irrigate with recaptured water, surface ponds and reclaimed water sources, and use new research and technologies. Registration is $40. For more information, visit WaterEducationAlliance.org.

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