fruit tree drip irrigation

Fruit Tree Drip Irrigation, orchard drip irrigation

Fruit tree drip irrigation is a method of watering fruit trees by applying water slowly and directly to the root zone of the tree. This is a more efficient and effective way to water fruit trees than traditional methods such as overhead sprinklers, which can waste water and cause fungal diseases.

1. Characteristics of Drip Irrigation

1.1 Small Irrigation Volume and Short Irrigation Cycle:
The flow rate of drippers typically ranges from 1.5 to 12 liters per hour, with irrigation intervals varying based on fruit tree types, usually occurring every 7-15 days.

1.2 Partial Soil Moistening:
Drip irrigation targets specific areas near crop roots, preserving soil structure and optimizing water, heat, air, and nutrient conditions. This reduces surface evaporation and conserves water.

1.3 Low Operating Pressure:
Drip systems operate at a low water head pressure of 7-10 meters, ensuring efficient water delivery to crops.

1.4 Integration with Fertilization:
Drip irrigation systems can be combined with fertilization practices to deliver nutrients accurately to the root zone as required.

2. Types of Drip Irrigation

2.1 Surface Drip Irrigation:
Water is evenly and slowly dripped onto the soil near crop roots through drippers installed on water pipes, orifices, or drip irrigation bristle emitters.

2.2 Underground Drip Irrigation:
Capillary tubes and emitters are buried 20-30 cm below the surface, allowing water to seep out and moisten the soil. While this method prevents emitter exposure and aging, it poses challenges in locating and cleaning clogged emitters.

orchard drip irrigation

3. Drip Irrigation Engineering System

3.1 Components:

  • Water Source: Rivers, lakes, wells, and springs can serve as water sources, but those with excessive impurities should be avoided to prevent system clogging.
  • First Control Hub: Typically includes water pumps, valves, purification devices, and fertilization equipment.
  • Pipe Network: Comprises main pipes, branch pipes, and capillary pipes.
  • Emitters: Installed on capillary tubes or connected through small tubes.
fruit tree drip irrigation

How to install a fruit tree drip irrigation system:

  1. Choose a drip irrigation system: There are many different types of drip irrigation systems available, so it is important to choose one that is right for your needs. Consider the size of your trees, the spacing of your trees, and the type of soil you have.
  2. Install the main water line: The main water line will supply water to the drip irrigation system. It should be made of PVC pipe and should be buried underground.
  3. Install the drip lines: The drip lines are the hoses that will deliver water to the trees. They should be laid out in a pattern around the trees.
  4. Install the emitters: Emitters are the small devices that release water from the drip lines. They should be spaced evenly along the drip lines.
  5. Connect the drip lines to the main water line: Connect the drip lines to the main water line using fittings.
  6. Apply mulch: Apply a layer of mulch around the trees to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

4. Planning and Design

4.1 Survey and Data Collection:
Conduct a survey of the area, collecting data on geography, soil properties, water sources, etc., to inform planning and design.

4.2 System Layout:
Plan the system layout based on topographic maps, ensuring alignment with actual terrain features.

5. Determination of System Parameters

5.1 First Hub Location:
Select a location for the first hub based on investment savings and management convenience, often integrated with water conservancy projects.

5.2 Capillary Tube and Irrigation Device Arrangement:
Arrange capillary tubes and irrigation devices based on fruit tree types and spacing between planting rows.

fruit tree drip irrigation

6. Determination of Drip Irrigation System

6.1 System Parameters:
Define parameters such as total water volume, irrigation interval, and frequency.

Tips for using fruit tree drip irrigation:

  • Water your trees deeply and infrequently: It is better to water your trees deeply and infrequently than to water them shallowly and frequently. This will encourage the roots of the trees to grow deep into the soil, where they can access more water.
  • Adjust your watering schedule based on the weather: The amount of water your trees need will vary depending on the weather. Water them more often during hot, dry weather and less often during cool, wet weather.
  • Monitor your drip irrigation system for leaks: Check your drip irrigation system regularly for leaks. Leaks can waste water and can also cause problems with your trees.

Fruit tree drip irrigation offers a targeted and efficient method of delivering water and nutrients to the root zone, optimizing plant growth and yield while conserving water resources. By utilizing low flow rates and precise distribution techniques, drip systems minimize water wastage and reduce soil erosion, making them ideal for orchard management.

Whether employing surface or subsurface methods, the integration of drip irrigation with proper system planning and management can significantly enhance fruit tree health and productivity while promoting sustainable agricultural practices.