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Blueberry Irrigation Guide

A guide to setting up blueberry orchard irrigation using dripline. A simple and effective way to ensure a well-watered plant

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Blueberries are becoming more common in orchards and market gardens. They can be easily irrigated using a dripline due to the even spacing and rows throughout the orchard. The spacing between plants can determine the type of dripline, but usually, blueberries are 1-2m apart, and the standard dripline is required.

Dripline

Dripline is a pipeline with an internally built drip emitter, evenly spaced along the pipe to give a dedicated water amount.

Commonly used in Landscape and Effluent application. Due to the effectiveness, precision, and longevity of dripline irrigation, it is becoming more widely used in Horticulture, Agriculture, and other irrigation areas.

Have a read of our Dripline Guide here to learn more.

Dripline can be laid out on the surface, along the rows of blueberries. There is no need to break up the plants' lines, as the extra water between plants will encourage root growth.

Dripline can last between 10 to 30 years with proper care and maintenance.

Flow Rate

Knowing the flow rate available for the system allows us to calculate how many rows/blocks of dripline, you can operate at any time.

We can calculate the flow rate of the dripline with the following formula.

Row Length / Emitter Spacing = Number of Emitters

Number of Emitters x Emitter L/hr = Row Flow Rate

Row Flow Rate x Number of Rows = Total Flow Rate

Below is an example for the 5 rows of blueberries above in one block.

  • Row Length = 20m
  • Emitter L/hr = 1.6 L/hr
  • Emitter Spacing = 30cm
  • Num of Rows = 5

20 / 0.30 = 66.66

66.66 x 1.6 = 106.66

106.66 x 5 = 533.33 L/hr

533.33 / 60 = 8.8 L/min

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Mainline

The systems mainline determined by the flow rate, pressure, and size of the orchard. For larger orchards, a cost-effective option is the PVC 5.8m Pipe. Other common options are LD or MD Alkathene Pipe.

The pipe size can restrict the flow rate of the water due to friction. For larger blocks, it is best to consult with one of our experts.

Sub-mainline

For a lot of the sub-mainlines, we run Lateral Pipe. The lateral pipe is rated to either 3 or 5 Bar and is ideal for supply pipe to the dripline. The fittings required can be easily inserted and sealed with a ratchet clip. There are little sub-main lines with most blueberry orchards, mostly along the rows' width, that the dripline tees' off of.

Recommended lateral line size is 19mm or 25mm.

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Zones

We can calculate the zones with the knowledge of the total flow rates and the flow rates per row. You will need to know the flow rate of your water supply. This can be done by a bucket test or the performance flow chart of the pump.

If you have multiple blocks, you can calculate how many blocks can run at one time. The benefit of having fewer zones is it saves money on products and time of installation.

If, for example, you have 5 blocks, each doing 8.8 L/min (as calculated above), you will need 44 L/min just to run all the blocks at one time. (this does not include pipe friction loss and other elements). For larger blocks, it is best to consult with one of our experts.

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Controller

AC or DC is the first option to consider for the orchard controller. If you have a power supply nearby, then AC is the better choice. AC controllers and valves tend to be cheaper. If you have no power options then a DC controller running 9V batteries may be your only option.

Have a read of our Controller Guide here to learn more.

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