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Under Canopy Irrigation

Under Canopy Orchard Sprinkler Systems

There are many different orchard systems and many different training methods in New Zealand that use under canopy sprinkler irrigation. There are many different products and processes used to irrigate; if you look through our selection of sprinklers, there is a mind-boggling choice. It is not a simplistic choice, and any decision has long term costs and effects on production that need to be considered. It is always wise to consult with one of our designers before you decide on sprinkler type, flow rate, spacing etc.

Kiwifruit canopy graphic

Why Sprinklers?

The choice of irrigating with drip or sprinkler systems, there is no simple answer. You need to consider the plant and specifically the root area that you are watering, for most plants irrigating a large portion of the root volume is important. You may find a lot of information that drip is superior, this is likely crop-specific and climate-specific, New Zealand's climate with regular rainfall commonly produces trees with large root volumes. A sprinkler system is the most common system we recommend 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.

From all the options available, how do you choose a sprinkler system to suit your orchard?

If you are expanding an existing irrigation system the general recommendation is to stay with the same style of sprinkler you have as this will make management a lot easier, unless the existing sprinklers are causing a problem for you.

The sprinkler we recommend most is the Netafim Supernet, and there are some very good reasons for this choice. The sprinkler has the best range of flow regulation in the market, and it has a self-flushing mechanism that reduces the chance of blocking, it is a quality sprinkler built to last, it has many stand options and connection options to suit.


  • Wide regulating range and floating, self-flushing diaphragm maintains uniform flow across a broad pressure range.
  • Highest distribution uniformity - unique nozzle tube prevents adverse effects of varying inlet pressure on the wetted diameter.
  • The largest water passages on the market – resists clogging.
  • Drop-down “bug-proof” swivel/jet plate prevents entry of insects.
  • Engineering-grade materials and heavy-duty bearing results in superior endurance and long-term reliable uniformity.
  • Everspin bearing has a layer of sapphire material to reduce friction and wear, promoting long-lasting sprinkler performance.
  • Bearing keeps the swivel centred during operation and improves

Common alternatives to the SuperNet sprinklers, for kiwifruit irrigation, are the Nelson R10 and R10 Turbos and the Rivulis S2000 sprinklers. The Netafim SuperNets, Nelson R10s and Rivulis S2000s are ideal choices for a wide range of applications including irrigation, cooling, and frost protection for orchards and groves.

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Under Canopy versus Above Canopy

The reasoning for irrigating under the canopy is to reduce the amount of disease caused by moisture in the canopy, Irrigating overhead is commonly done in New Zealand for frost protection and cooling.

There are different setups for under canopy irrigation, upright sprinklers on stakes of various types, upside down sprinklers hang via a tube, sometimes with a weight.

Upright Sprinklers

SuperNet Stake or Adaptor allows for applications on the ground. The push-fit to barb fittings can easily attach to the tube to connect to the lateral line (either above on the frame or laying on the ground). The SuperNet stake snaps onto the SuperNet allowing it to spike into the ground for a sturdy upright spray under your canopy. The SuperNet adaptor allows for a connection to either 8mm and 6mm Fibreglass or Galv rods. The benefits to the rods being the flexibility in heights (useful for orchards that have more room).

The application is to have your SuperNet staked into the ground floor of your canopy. This allows for flexibility in positioning, due to the tube connection. The benefits are that you're well below the canopy and hanging fruit. People also use this application to double as a frost mitigation system in the winter. attaching the stake or adaptor to a stand/rod above the canopy.

With your sprinklers on the ground, you do run the risk of workers or vehicles knocking the setup, possibly damaging the sprinkler or ripping out the tube connection. You also may have the sprinkler obstructed by fallen debris.


  • SuperNets allow for easy installation with Push-fit connections
  • Versatility in Stakes or Rod application
  • Well below the canopy and fruits
  • Can double as a frost mitigation system


  • Possible obstruction from debris on the ground (fallen leaves, branches etc)
  • On the ground floor, the pipe and sprinklers are at risk from workers or vehicles.
  • The stake/rod needs to be vertically set up to throw evenly to plants.



Upside Down Sprinklers

The versatility of the SuperNet allows for many different applications. The push-fit to barb fittings can easily attach to the tube to hang the sprinkler well below the canopy.

The application is to hang your sprinkler from a lateral line attached to the frame or your canopy. A wire runs along the frame, with Jiffy Clips or cable ties securing the pipe to the wire. This keeps your sprinkler off the ground and out of the way of workers or vehicles. Hanging well below the canopy allows for the sprinkler to have few obstructions when irrigating, and not affected by items on the ground.


  • Versatility in application rates
  • Sprung loaded bearing to reduce cobweb and insect problems
  • SuperNets allow for easy installation with Push-fit connections
  • Little obstruction from debris on the ground (fallen leaves, branches etc.)
  • Heavy sprinkler to keep stable in upside-down application
  • Out of pathway of workers or vehicles


  • Needs to hang low enough to reduce water on the plant foliage.
under-canopy-side-view-upsidedown wide

If you would like to talk to one of our experts on what would suit your orchard, please phone on 0800 130 905, or fill out the form below to email.

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Products Used

  • PVC Tubing tube poly

    Automat Black PVC 3mm and 4mm Tube – 100m Coils

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  • supernet upsidedown green swivel

    Netafim SuperNet Sprinkler – Upside Down Spring loaded UD – Pressfit

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  • supernet LRD purple

    Netafim SuperNet Sprinkler – Long Range with Deflector LRD – Press Fit

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  • netafim female barb fitting

    Netafim Female Press Fit Connector – 4mm x 6.5mm – Black or Grey

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  • netafim blue stake sprinkler fitting

    Netafim Sprinkler Adaptor

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  • netafim stake

    Netafim Supernet Sprinkler Stake

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  • supernet blue netafim

    Netafim SuperNet Sprinkler – Short Range SR – Press Fit

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