Canopy Drip irrigation
Drip Irrigation is the use of emitters of water at a lower rate of application. These emitters apply water directly to the source/plant. The benefits of drip irrigation are less water wastage compared to sprinklers with more water used directly to the plant's root zone.
Drip Irrigation is widely used overseas but not as common in New Zeland orchards. The rainfall in New Zealand expands the natural root growth of the plant. Sprinklers can effectively water the more extensive root growth, where drippers are watering the select area.
A sprinkler system is the most common system recommended for large root areas such as Apples, Pears, Stone fruit, Kiwifruit, Truffles, Passionfruit, Avocadoes, and Olives. Drip systems are commonly used in crops such as Strawberries, Blueberries, Vineyards, and smaller orchard trees.
Drippers come in a variety of flow rates and applications. Standard flow rates for drippers are 2, 4 and 8 L/Hr, but can go much higher. The example system we show is using 2 x 2 L/hr drippers spaced either side of the plant. Benefits of having one dripper as the water area would be less, not covering the roots' growth.
It's advised to have the drippers away from the plant trunk, so the water drops to the canopy floor. Avoid having water always on the plant's trunk, as it can make it susceptible to disease.
Drippers come as a take-apart or button dripper. The Take-Apart drippers have a top that can be unscrewed for cleaning and unclogging if any debris got into the line—saving time and money.
Pressure compensated drippers are recommended as you can ensure the distribution of water is even between the drippers. They are allowing for a precise calculation of flows per plant. The pressure compensated drippers also usually have a diaphragm inside the dripper to manage the flow. This diaphragm helps with alternating the clearance width. Helps to prevent blockage from debris.